The remains of a man found 32 years ago have been identified: VA staff

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The remains of people found 32 years ago in Virginia have just been identified, officials said.

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In 1990, human remains were found in northern Virginia, and for decades they remained unidentified.

Now, about 32 years later, officials determined the ownership of the remains a man named Timothy Mangam, who died in 1983 or 1984, said in a statement from the Stafford County Sheriff on Friday, February 18th. But the circumstances of his death remain a mystery.

On September 28, 1990, a man working on his property found a human skull tucked under a fence, the sheriff’s office said. Deputies responded and determined that the skull, which had no signs of injury, was there “for a long time.”

Deputies searched the area, but found no other remains.

The skull was taken to the chief forensic expert’s office in Richmond, to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and to anthropology experts in Washington, D.C., the sheriff’s office said.

“They concluded that the skull appeared to belong to a teenage Caucasian man between the ages of 15 and 18, and posted a reasonable estimate of the time from death to its detection from 1 to 3 years,” the sheriff’s office said.

A forensic expert, however, was unable to determine the manner of death and acknowledged the cause “unclear,” the sheriff’s office said. But given the alleged age of the victim and the location of the skull, the “violent or unnatural way of death” was a “strong suspicion”.

More than two decades later, in 2011, DNA analysis revealed the victim’s DNA profile, the sheriff’s office said. This profile was then uploaded to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s combined DNA index system (CODIS), but no matches were found.

The mystery continued for another decade until November 2021, when genealogical researchers from a lab in Texas provided the sheriff’s office with possible names and addresses of the victim’s father and brother in the Norfolk area, the sheriff’s office said.

“At the time, detectives were introduced to Timothy Alan Mangum’s name as a possible person,” the sheriff’s office said. “The family had not been in contact with Timothy Mangum for several years before 1990.”

Using DNA samples from his father and brother, officials identified the victim as Manguma.

Now the sheriff’s office is trying to find out more about Mangum’s disappearance and death.

“At the moment, detectives believe that Timothy (Mangum) was last alive in 1983-1984, but more information about his disappearance and the circumstances of his death is not so much known,” – said the sheriff’s office.

Officials said they learned he attended Lake Taylor High School in Norfolk in April 1983 after leaving the Chesapeake public school system in January 1983. Norfolk is located in southeastern Virginia, about 150 miles from Stafford County, where in 1990 the remains of Mangam were found.

At one point he lived in Chattanooga, Tennessee, with his mother, but later returned to Virginia and in his sophomore year at Lake Taylor High School, the sheriff’s office said.

Investigators said they were looking for anyone who had contact with him or who could provide information on why he may have been in Stafford County at the time of his death.

“Anyone who has any information about Timothy Alan Mangam and who may have known or attended school with him is asked to contact Detective Dave Wood, at the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office, 540-658-4727, or by email at dwood @ staffordcountyva.gov, ”the sheriff’s office said.

Bailey Aldridge is a reporter covering real-time news in North and South Carolina. She holds a degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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