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Investigation of human remains in Clinton County expected to take time

Braymer farm human remains 3.png
Braymer farm human remains 3.png
Braymer farm human remains.png
Posted at 10:04 PM, Jul 31, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-31 23:52:19-04

PARKVILLE, Mo.  — Clinton County investigators continue to look for clues to identify human remains found Wednesday at a farm, where two missing Wisconsin brothers were last known to have traveled.

Sheriff Larry Fish confirmed that remains were found Tuesday at a 74-acre farm in Braymer, Missouri, which has been the focus of a search-turned-death investigation into the disappearance of Nicholas and Justin Diemel.

But the discovery of remains could signal the start of the investigation rather than a sign things are close to wrapping up.

"The longer this body has been there, the more decomposed it is going to be (and) the tougher it may be to immediately identify," Dr. Eugene Matthews, an associate professor of criminal justice administration at Park University, said.

Matthews is not working on this particular case, but he is familiar with crime scene investigations.

"Typically, you go into every death investigation as a homicide, because they are treated much more stringently than anything else," he said. "They'll be looking for how did the individual get there, because the remains did not get there themselves, and then maybe secondary crime scenes. Is this where the person was killed, if this was a homicide?"

Matthews explained that several factors, including how long the body was exposed to the elements, can help determine how skeletal remains are identified. The easiest way is to match teeth to dental records.

If a body is burned or chemicals are used to destroy evidence, it could complicate the investigation.

"There will be enough left usually to identify this as a human and the gender, maybe not a whole lot more at first glance," Matthews said. "It just makes it a little more tough to identify the individual."

For example, investigators in Cass County found human remains in a rock quarry in April 2017.

Investigators identified the remains of Jessica Runions within two days. She went missing six months prior.

It took investigators four and a half months to identify the remains of Kara Kopetsky, who had been missing for a decade.