Indiana State Police

Remains found in western Indiana in 1998 identified as those of long-missing man, police say

The remains were found in Aug. 1997, according to police

Skeletal remains found near a western Indiana highway overpass more than a quarter-century ago have been identified as those of an Indiana man who vanished in 1997, authorities said Wednesday.

The remains are those of Mitchell Preston, an Anderson man who was 47 when he was last seen in that central Indiana city in August 1997 while traveling on foot to California, Indiana State Police said.

A state highway worker found the remains in January 1998 near an Interstate 70 overpass in Vigo County near the Illinois border, about 120 miles (193 kilometers) southwest of Anderson. Efforts over the intervening years to identify them proved unsuccessful.

But last year, state police, the Vigo County Coroner's Office and the University of Indianapolis submitted skeletal remains to Othram, a company that specializes in forensic genetic genealogy.

Othram developed a DNA profile from those remains, and state police detectives began contacting potential relatives of the then-unidentified person.

DNA provided by some of Preston's relatives helped investigators confirm that the remains are Preston's, said Sgt. Matt Ames of the Indiana State Police.

While the agency said it's “pleased to bring some closure” to Preston's family, it said his death remains an “open investigation.”

State police detectives are asking the public to contact them if they "may have seen Mr. Preston or have any knowledge of what might have happened to him." Tips can be provided to 1-800-225-8576.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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