CRANBERRY TWP — The skeletal remains discovered Saturday afternoon near UPMC Passavant Cranberry hospital are apparently those of a Beaver County man, township police said this morning.
The man, in his late-40s, was reported missing in July 2012. There is no indication that foul play had a role in the man’s death, Cranberry Township police Sgt. Chuck Mascellino said this morning.
Authorities did not immediately release his name, pending notification of next of kin.
“We have an identification that we’re trying to confirm with the family,” Mascellino said.
That identification, he said, primarily comes from the man’s driver’s license, which was found in a wallet near the remains.
Investigators remain dumbfounded that the largely in tact skeleton for so long went undetected so close to Cranberry’s busy business district.
The remains were in thick grass but on top of a small knoll about 50 yards off Dutilh Road near the Cranberry Mall.
“They were within 50 feet of the (road) salt pile for the hospital,” Mascellino said of the remains. “You’d have thought someone in some of the rooms at the hospital or the end rooms of the Fairfield Inn would have seen something from the windows.”
Butler County Deputy Coroner Dennis Trzeciak, who police called to make the initial examination of the remains, was equally surprised.
“There are a lot of passers-by and transients that go through that area,” he said. “It’s hard to believe no one didn’t notice anything sooner.”
A Zelienople man, who needed a break while visiting an ill loved one at UPMC Passavant, found the remains about 2:30 p.m. Saturday while taking a walk to the Giant Eagle at the Cranberry Mall.
“It was a just a matter of chance he found them,” said Trzeciak.
Police immediately suspected the remains were that of a man, judging by the clothes.
Despite finding the wallet with the suspected identification of the remains, authorities requested the help of forensic scientists from Mercyhurst College in Erie.
“We need to confirm what we suspect,” Mascellino said.