Michael Hochrein and Dennis Dirkmaat

Retired FBI Special Agent Michael Hochrein (left) shows Dennis Dirkmaat a Total Station surveying instrument prior to a workshop with students participating in a short course on forensic anthropology at Mercyhurst University in Erie on June 11, 2019.

SOMERSET – Three months after human remains were found in Somerset Township, investigators are now awaiting DNA results to help confirm an identity, said Cullen Swank, Somerset County chief deputy coroner.

A complete report by an Erie County forensic anthropology team has been received by the coroner’s office and state police in Somerset, the law enforcement agency heading the investigation, he said.

Earlier this spring, Dennis Dirkmaat, chairman of the applied forensic sciences department at Mercyhurst University, told The Tribune-Democrat that the remains found near Slickerman Road likely belonged to an adult who had been dead for more than a year, and possibly for several years.

Dirkmaat and a team of Mercyhurst faculty members and graduate students examined the remains at their Erie County lab in late April.

Swank said efforts to narrow down possibilities remain ongoing.

The Somerset County Coroner's Office’s role in the case is to determine the cause and manner of the adult’s death, if possible.

At this point, a final determination has not been made, he said.

State police in Somerset, which are conducting their own investigation, said earlier this month that their work remained ongoing and that no new information was available.

David Hurst is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter @TDDavidHurst and Instagram @TDDavidHurst.

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