New Hampshire Sunday News
April 16, 2006
Human remains found
By Garry Rayno and Shawne K. Wickham
CONCORD--A forensic anthropologist is being called in to help identify the man whose skeletal remains were found in a wooded area just off Interstate 93 Friday afternoon.
State and local authorities were excavating the area, down a steep embankment near Exit 12 southbound, for much of the day yesterday.
Assistant Attorney General David Ruoff, who is investigating the case for that office, said the remains, later determined to be those of an adult male, were found by a man walking in the woods shortly after 4 p.m. Friday. Police sealed off the area overnight, and authorities began searching the area and removing the remains yesterday morning.
The remains, Ruoff said, "appear to have been there a while, so it's going to take a while to make any kind of identification."
Ruoff said while there was once excavation required to uncover all the remains, the area "did not appear to be a burial site."
"It just seemed that it was leaves, and it has been there for a while, so there was some amount of soil covering."
Senior Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Strelzin said clothing found at the scene and dental records will aid in determining who was found dead.
"We expect the earliest the identification will be made will be Monday," Strelzin said.
Asked if officials have an idea who the dead man may be, Ruoff said investigators have consulted the state police database on missing persons. "What we know has been run against the database and we have some hunches and suspicions, but we really have to wait until we know more," he said.
There are four individuals from New Hampshire posted on the New Hampshire State Police Web site's missing persons page. Three are women: Maura Murray, and Tina and Bethany Sinclair.
The only male is Lorne Boulet, born March 27, 1980. According to the Web site, he has been missing since July 29, 2001 from Chichester _ one town east of Concord. Asked if the remains discovered yesterday could be those of Lorne Boulet, Ruoff yesterday replied, "No comment."
Strelzin said, "We don't speculate on who we think those remains will be."
Louise Holmburg, Boulet's aunt, said last evening that she hadn't received word on whether the remains might be those of her nephew.
"I'm sitting here with a weight in my stomach," the Bristol woman said. "I've already chewed off my fingernails.
"The not knowing is very difficult," said Holmburg, who wears a sterling silver ring of Boulet's with blue stones. "Like everyone, we want positive answers. We want to find Lorne safe and that's how we keep searching."
Should it turn out to be him, she said, "It's going to be devastating."
Boulet's parents could not be reached. An answering machine at their home in Chichester contained this message: "If this is you, Lorne, we need to hear from you. We love you and we miss you."
His family has posted a Web site (www.findlorne.faith-web.com), worked with several missing persons organizations and even taken their search to the "Larry King Live" show on CNN.
According to the published reports, Lorne Boulet was diagnosed with schizophrenia just before he turned 20. A graduate of Pembroke Academy, he worked at the Concord Wal-Mart and lived with his parents in Chichester. The evening he disappeared, Boulet left home for a customary walk, taking no identification, cash or cell phone with him, according to his family.
Concord police are conducting the investigation into the body found Friday. The state police major crime unit was not called in, but Ruoff said that does not mean no crime was committed, as Concord is one of the cities that investigates its own homicide cases.
A deputy medical examiner initially examined the remains Friday evening, Strelzin said.
The state's chief medical examiner, Dr. Tom Andrew, was at the scene yesterday. The remains were to have been brought to the medical examiner's office at Concord Hospital for a forensic examination, which Ruoff said differs of the condition of the remains.
Ruoff said Andrew expects to call in Dr. Marcella Sorg, a Maine forensic anthoropologist who has worked with New Hampshire authorities on prior cases, to consult in the case. He was also planning to consult a forensic "odontologist," an expert in dental records.
Asked is the area was being treated as a crime scene, Ruoff said it was too soon to say whether the death appeared to be a homicide or accidental. The medical examiner, he said, "is not going to be able to make a determination on cause and manner" of death until he consults with Sorg.
Yesterday, a light-colored tarp could be seen at the bottom of the steep, 20-foot embankment near Exit 12 to South Main Street. Yellow police tape was placed along a short section of the woods, which are between the highway and the South End Marsh.
While investigators worked, police blocked off the right travel land of I-93 southbound from above Exit 14. Traffic was backed up and slowed to a crawl through the city at noontime.
--Staff Reporter Michael Cousineau contributed to this report.