Join our brand new verified AMN Telegram channel and get important news uncensored!

Farmers chasing pig found remains in 1975, cops say. Now they’re identified as veteran

(Coconino County Sheriff’s Office /Released)

Gerald Francis Long was discharged from the U.S. Army in 1972.

Months later, the Minnesota man told family he was “heading to the West Coast,” the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office said in a May 8 news release.

This would be the last time his family would ever see or hear from him from again.

For decades, his whereabouts were a mystery.

Now, using forensic genetic genealogy, deputies said they identified remains found in remote Arizona in 1975 as Long.

Runaway pig leads to remains

As farmers were chasing a runaway pig along Meteor City Road, east of Flagstaff, on April 19, 1975, deputies said the farmers stumbled upon skeletal remains.

The man was nicknamed “Munsingwear Doe” after a “Munsingwear brand jacket found with the remains,” deputies said.

While both detectives and cold case volunteers created leads, deputies said none of these efforts led to an identification.

For the next 49 years, the man’s identity would remain a mystery, according to deputies.

Then came advancements in DNA technology.

Genetic genealogy to ID

Deputies said they partnered with Intermountain Forensics in 2023, a forensic genetic genealogy company, in hopes genetic genealogy could finally close the case.

Genetic genealogy uses DNA testing coupled with “traditional genealogical methods” to create “family history profiles,” according to the Library of Congress. With genealogical DNA testing, researchers can determine if and how people are biologically related.

The company created a DNA profile for the unknown man, which was uploaded into genealogy databases, deputies said.

Long’s family told deputies he was a member of the Army from 1969 to 1972 and served in the Vietnam War.

His family also told deputies they had not heard from him since October 1972 when he told them he was headed west.

After getting this information from family, deputies said the FBI Laboratory’s Latent Print Unit compared Long’s fingerprints to those of the unknown man.

They were a match, deputies said.

A family member of Long’s also provided DNA to confirm the man’s identity, deputies said.

This month, the company’s scientists confirmed “that Munsingwear Doe was Gerald F Long,” deputies said.

While the man’s identity is no longer a mystery, deputies said Long’s cause of death “was not determined in 1975 and remains unknown today.”


© 2024 The Charlotte Observer

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC