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Over Two Decades Old Remains Identified

After nearly a quarter-of-a-century authorities in Grant County have identified the remains of a person who died in the mid-1990s. A release from the sheriff’s office says in the fall of 1995, the remains of a man were located in a small wooded area off Highway 151 near Maryville Heights. The body was severely decomposed and the Grant County Coroner at the time attempted to identify the body without success. The coroner did however determine that the man died of a heart related condition. The FBI was called in to try and obtain fingerprints, but was unable to get appropriate prints to check the databases. The body was labeled as “John Doe’ and was buried in a county owned cemetery in the spring of 1996. Earlier this year, Grant County Coroner Phyllis Fuerstenberg reopened the case and with new techniques and technology was able to get fingerprints. After a search of the database the body was identified as Gale Joseph Byers, a veteran of the military and originally from Boscobel. Byers was 57 at the time of his death. His family was then notified and told where he was buried. The family decided to leave Byers’ remains in the county owned cemetery. With his military service, the Grant County Veterans Service office is checking to see what military benefits may be available to place a headstone on the grave site. Once a headstone is set in place with proper identification the family will hold a graveside service.

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