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Remains of missing Branchville man found

Remains of missing Branchville man found
Remains of missing Branchville man found

A Branchville man who was reported missing nearly two years ago were discovered last week east of Mauckport near the Ohio River.
George Ronald Schmidt Jr., 56, was last seen in late February 2014 at the Mauckport Tavern. His car was abandoned at the tavern.
Schmidt’s family contacted the Indiana State Police in early March that resulted in the filing of a missing person’s report.
‘Their investigation uncovered that the last known place Mr. Schmidt had been seen was at the Mauckport Tavern,’ Harrison County Sheriff Rodney (Rod) Seelye said Friday evening during a press conference.
Seelye said troopers from the Indiana State Police had canvassed the area, but ‘it would’ve been easy to miss’ someone in the area where the remains were found.
A team of forensic anthropologists from the University of Indianapolis were called to an area under the Matthew E. Welsh bridge, about a mile east of the tavern, after human remains were found Thursday.
At about 3:30 p.m. Friday, the team, led by Dr. Krista Latham, completed the excavation of the skeletal remains.
‘They did a bang-up job,’ Seelye said of the team, ‘one of the few teams to do this within the country.’
During the excavation, Seelye said a wallet, an Indiana driver’s license, glasses and a vehicle key were uncovered. The driver’s license belonged to Schmidt, he said.
Investigators from the HCSD and ISP Detective Chris Tucker worked together on the findings that resulted in a preliminary determination that the remains were those of Schmidt.
‘It is important to note that this is only a preliminary identification and further confirmation will determined after DNA and/or dental records are compared,’ Seelye said.
The sheriff said Schmidt’s family was notified of the findings and were waiting confirmation.
‘The remains will be carefully processed by Dr. Latham’s team at the University of Indianapolis’ forensic laboratory,’ Seelye said. ‘Until a full skeletal examination has been completed, speculation as to the cause or manner of death will not be made.’
However, police did say they were treating it as a death investigation.
‘We express our sympathy to the family,’ Seelye said.