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Recently Discovered Human Remains Highlight Local Missing Person Cases

As Vernon police investigate the human remains found in that town, people are talking about whether they belong to one of the missing people from north central Connecticut, including a girl from Windsor Locks.

The discovery of human remains off West Street in Vernon last week has caused some to discuss the possibility that they may belong to one of the many people reported missing in the area over the past few decades.

According to a U.S. Justice Department website dedicated to missing persons, there are 184 missing person cases in Connecticut.

Locally, one of those cases involves the disappearance of Ashley Crooks, who was 18 when she was last seen in Windsor Locks on June 21, 2009.

The Crooks case is one of several from north central Connecticut, according to the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System site. Those people include:

  • Todd Coate, 36, who was last seen in Enfield on Oct. 3, 2012.
  • Lisa White, who was 13 when she was last seen in Vernon on Nov. 1, 1974.
  • Janice Pockett, who was 7 when she disappeared in Tolland on July 26, 1973.
  • Deborah Spickler, who was last seen in Vernon on July 24, 1968, when she was 13.
  • Haidar Abushaqra, 41, who was last seen in Manchester on Dec. 7, 2011.
  • Luis Narvaez, who was 27 when he disappeared in Manchester on March 9, 2010.
  • Katie Neeley, an 18-year-old who was last seen in Manchester on May 12, 2009.
  • Awilda Marrero, who disappeared in Enfield on April 6, 2009 at age 43.
  • Eric Thruelson, who was 54 when he was last seen in Tolland on Oct. 7, 2008.
  • Carol Shapiro, who was 43 when she disappeared in Manchester in Aug. 31, 2007.
  • Mark Johnson, a 41-year-old who was last seen in Tolland on Oct. 24, 2006.
  • Robert Cavanagh, who disappeared in Mansfield on Dec. 21, 2004 at age 51.
  • Jeffrey Stone, who disappeared in Glastonbury at age 45 on Jan 30, 2003.
  • Bene Rothstein, who was 45 when he was last seen in South Windsor on Feb. 17, 1993.
  • Richard Boissonneau, who was 49 when he was last seen in Manchester on Sept. 25, 1984.

It could take weeks before a positive identification can be made on the skeletal remains found off West Street on March 13, a police spokesman said on Tuesday.

Vernon police spokesman Lt. William Meier said that Vernon detectives are continuing to work with the state police, the state medical examiner and the State Forensic Lab to identify the skeletal remains recovered from the property.

A 23-year-old resident looking for scrap metal to finish a college sculpture project found a skull on the West Street property, which had been a town dump before two homes were built on either side of the parcel. Investigators worked for several days at the site to retrieve as much as possible.

The remains have been brought to the State Forensic Lab for identification, and lab officials are estimating it "will likely take several weeks to make an identification," Meier said.

While awaiting a positive identification of the remains, Vernon detectives are "actively working with other local, state and federal law enforcement agencies on the investigation," Meier said.

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