BELTON, Mo. - Jesse Ross, affectionately known as Opie, disappeared while on a school trip ten years ago. Over the holidays a discovery was made in Wisconsin that's renewed hope for his family.
"This is probably the closest we've had," Don Ross, Jesse's father, said.
Don Ross is optimistic that recently discovered human remains along Lake Michigan could be of his missing son.
"Right now because they have no information of Jesse whatsoever we know nothing and that's nowhere to be for 10 years," Don Ross said.
The 19-year-old vanished while attending a model UN conference with his UMKC classmates in Chicago in fall of 2006.
"The possibility of Jessie being in that lake is very strong," Don Ross said.
A father and son a few days after Christmas came across the skeletal remains that are badly decomposed.
"The remains could've just washed up recently into the rocks or they could've been there for several months and no one actually saw them," Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth told 41 Action News’ sister station WTMJ.
Don Ross has e-mailed the sheriff about his son, has alerted Chicago police and his own private investigator.
"If they determine that this is Jesse that is only the next step. It doesn't close anything we need to know: how he got in that lake and who might be responsible," Don Ross said.
Over the last decade, he has experienced a few close calls so he's cautious.
"They found a body a couple years ago in a pond somewhere in the Chicago area, but that wasn't it. In general we've had so many of these things you just got to let things work," Don Ross said.
He adds that if the remains aren't of his son, Don Ross plans to visit Chicago over the spring to distribute flyers and make sure his son's case doesn't fade away.