Officials compare human bones with dental records of 2 missing womenComplete skeleton found along creek in Oneida
By ROCCO LaDUCA Observer-Dispatch
Posted Apr 07, 2010 @ 01:07 PM update Apr 07, 2010 @ 05:58 PM
ONEIDA — Dental records of two Oneida-area women who disappeared many years will be compared to intact teeth from a complete skeleton discovered along Cowalson Creek, Oneida police said.
Police Chief David Meeker was quick to point out that the remains aren't necessarily those of the missing women — Tammy Mahoney, 19, who vanished in 1981, or Christine Markey
, 21, who disappeared in 1993. They also could be bones from an old burial ground.
“It would be nice to bring closure to those cases and to those families, but right now it could be anybody,” Meeker said.
As forensic investigators sifted through the soil Tuesday, they found an exposed skull with some teeth intact and a pelvic bone. It is unclear if the remains are those of a man or a woman, or an adult or a child, the chief said.
On Wednesday, they unearthed the complete skeleton.
All remains will be sent to the Onondaga County Medical Examiner’s Office.
A woman fishing found the bones at about 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, about 75 yards south of Canal Road and along the eastern side of the creek.
The creek intersects perpendicular with the Erie Canal, about 2 miles away from the western most part of the Oneida city-line.
The creek has overflowed many times over the years, and it is unclear if the remains were buried where they were found or not.
Several local law-enforcement agencies have contacted Oneida police about the discovery of the remains to compare with their own files on missing persons, Meeker said.
According to the Madison County sheriff's officials in 2003, investigators believe Mahoney was picked up hitchhiking and taken to a party on Oneida Indian Nation territory the night of May 8, 1981.
Police speculated at the time that she was later abducted, gang raped and killed by men who were still living in the area, according to O-D archives.
"We've known who the killers are for quite some time, and they know we know who killed her," then-Undersheriff Doug Bailey said in 2003. "This is a crime someone needs to pay for."
Although police have previously conducted searches for the body of Mahoney, who moved here from Long Island, her remains still haven't been found.
In the years since Markey was last seen alive in early 1993, her father, Philip Markey, would repeatedly drive his antique 1936 Buick around town offering it free to anyone with information on his daughter's whereabouts, according to O-D archives.
Regarding Markey's case, the day disappeared she was about to move out of her apartment at 474 Elizabeth St. in Oneida, city police said at the time.
Markey and her female roommate had a "volatile relationship" for about 4 to 5 years, and Markey's father said he immediately felt something wasn't right after speaking with his daughter's roommate, according to O-D archives.
There was no blood or evidence that Markey struggled with an abductor at the time, but Markey's absence was ruled suspicious because she did not pack any clothes and left her last paycheck at Oneida Ltd., where she had worked, archives show.
On Wednesday, Meeker would not comment on the current details of those missing-person investigations.
Many unanswered questions
Oneida police and Madison County sheriff's deputies will assist members of the Onondaga County medical examiner’s office as they remove the bones.
Madison County Assistant District Attorney Doug DeMarche Jr., a former prosecutor with the Oneida County District Attorney's Office, also was on the scene Wednesday.
Then, police hope to piece together some understanding about who the bones belong to, and what they’re doing buried in Oneida, Meeker said.
“We’ll be checking all the angles here, because it could be someone that was moved there, it could have been someone killed there, it could have been a burial site,” Meeker said.
This is the first time in recent memory that human bones have been discovered in Oneida under mysterious circumstances, Meeker said.
In the past, bones were discovered, along with cemetery headstones, after a burial site was dug up during a construction project, Meeker said.