Stunning: Vietnam MIA Remains Found 50 Years Later

Nearly five decades after skeletal remains were first discovered in Arizona, authorities have finally identified the victim as a Vietnam veteran from Minnesota. The Coconino County Sheriff’s Office announced on Wednesday that the remains, found 40 miles east of Flagstaff by farmers chasing a runaway pig on April 19, 1975, belonged to Gerald Francis Long.

Despite years of investigation and developing numerous leads, the victim, who was found wearing a Munsingwear brand jacket, was never identified and became known as Munsingwear Doe. However, in August 2023, the Sheriff’s Office turned to forensic genetic genealogy, enlisting the help of Intermountain Forensics of Salt Lake City, Utah.

Using DNA analysis, scientists were able to develop a genetic genealogy profile of the victim and compare it with existing profiles available in genealogy databases. This led to a potential family line and, by February, Long was identified as a possible match for the remains.

Detectives were able to contact one of Long’s surviving family members who revealed that he had served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War. Long had enlisted in January 1969 and deployed later that year. He returned to Minnesota in February 1972 and was discharged from the Army a month later.

The family member further explained that Long was last seen or heard from in October 1972 when he mentioned to his family that he was planning to leave Minnesota for the West Coast. With this new information, the FBI Laboratory’s Latent Print Unit compared partial fingerprints collected from the remains in 1975 to known fingerprint records belonging to Long, confirming a positive match.

Additionally, DNA collected from Long’s family and compared with those from the remains also proved to be a match, leaving no doubt that the identity of Munsingwear Doe was finally uncovered. However, despite the identification of Long, the cause of his death remains unknown since it was unable to be determined in 1975 and is still a mystery today.

The Sheriff’s Office expressed their condolences to Long’s family, who have requested privacy during this difficult time. The successful identification of the remains after 49 years brings closure to the family and answers to a case that has perplexed investigators for decades.

According to officials, the discovery of the remains in 1975 sparked an extensive investigation that gathered national attention. However, despite the efforts put into finding the victim’s identity, the case went cold until the introduction of forensic genetic genealogy, which has become a valuable tool in solving cold cases.

The technology, which uses DNA analysis to identify the possible family line of a victim, has helped investigators solve numerous cold cases in recent years. It involves comparing the DNA profile of unidentified remains with those in genealogy databases to find potential relatives and eventually identify the victim.

In 2018, the same technology helped solve the infamous Golden State Killer case in California, where a serial rapist and murderer terrorized the state for over a decade. In this case, authorities were able to positively identify the perpetrator using the same method used to identify Long.

The successful identification of the remains brings closure not only to Long’s family but also to the community and law enforcement who have been searching for answers for almost five decades. The Coconino County Sheriff’s Office hopes that this case will serve as an example of the importance of using cutting-edge technology and techniques in solving cold cases and bringing justice to victims and their families.


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