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Body identified in Oregon 50 years later


By Fox 12 Staff

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    COOS COUNTY, Oregon (KPTV) — After 50 years, the Coos County Sheriff’s Office has put to rest a missing person report through DNA.

The body identified is of Winston Arthur Maxey III, who left his home in Boise, Idaho in 1971 at the age of 15 in search of work. Maxey told his sister he planned to hitchhike to Coos Bay where he heard work existed. Family members reported never hearing from Maxey again, not even knowing if he made it to Oregon.

In Coos County, an unidentified deceased male was reported to the county sheriff’s office in July 1971 in the Engelwood area of Snedden Creek in Coos Bay. Because of limited technology, the Coos County Sheriff’s Office said the state medical examiner was unable to determine the identity or the cause of death. The body was buried in a local cemetery and with a grave marked as an unidentified male juvenile.

Occasionally revisited by the local sheriff’s office with hope of new evidence or technology developments, in May, Parabon Nanolab (a DNA service for law enforcement) was able to provide a profile of the unidentified male with traces to ancestry, eye, skin and hair color, face morphology and a composite profile. The following month, Maxey’s identity was verified and a daughter he unknowingly fathered before leaving Idaho was informed.

Maxey’s daughter previously hired a private investigator to find out if her father was alive. She also filed an official missing persons request and set up a Facebook page called “Where in the world is Winston Maxey.”

The Coos County Sheriff’s Office is now working with the family to produce a death certificate and to return the remains to the family in Idaho.

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