Marine Captain’s Skeletal Remains Discovered in Unlikely Collection

Marine Captain’s Skeletal Remains Discovered in Unlikely Collection

New Jersey experts recently revealed that a US Marine’s fragmentary remains had been discovered in a child’s rock collection for an unknown number of years.

According to sources, the story begins with Marine Corps Captain Everett Leland Yager’s death in July 1951. He was flying above Riverside County, California when an accident happened during a military training exercise.

The young man was from Palmyra, Missouri. According to a news release issued Monday by Ramapo College, all of his remains were believed to have been brought there. “All of his remains were recovered in the Riverside County, California area and buried in Palmyra, Missouri, or at least thought to have been,” Ramapo College administrators stated in a statement.

“Fast forward years later to a child who wanted to build a rock collection, and increased said collection by one during a scavenging exploration, presumably in Arizona.”

Eventually, it was revealed that the rock was a human bone, namely a jawbone. The skeleton remains were turned over to the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office. In January 2023, the agency and the Yavapai County Medical Examiner referred the case to Ramapo College’s Investigative Genetic Genealogy Center.

Researchers performed DNA analysis to link the bone to Yager after collecting a sample from Yager’s daughter. Yager’s daughter may be his only living child, as an internet obituary claims that his son Richard died in 2022. He was six years old when his father died.

“It was not until March 2024 that the DNA sample from Capt. Yager’s daughter confirmed a parent/child relationship, resolving the case and confirming that Rock Collection John Doe was indeed Capt. Everett Leland Yager,” the university’s press release stated.

But university academics couldn’t figure out why the jawbone was discovered in Arizona although the tragedy occurred in California. “One theory is that a scavenger, such as a bird, picked it up and eventually deposited it during its travels over Arizona,” Ramapo College stated.

The Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office later informed FOX 10 Phoenix that the “rock” belonged to the boy’s grandfather, who discovered it in California and returned it to Arizona.

“This case was a lesson in expecting the unexpected, and a testament to the power of IGG education at Ramapo College of New Jersey,” Ramapo College IGG Center Assistant Director Cairenn Binder said in a statement.

“The team that worked on this case at our IGG boot camp included some truly outstanding researchers, and we are so proud of them for helping to repatriate Captain Yager’s remains and return them to his family.”

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