Investigators Rule Out Jaw Bone Connection To Local Missing Persons Cases

Jason Graziadei •

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The human jaw bone discovered on a Nantucket beach earlier this month does not appear to be connected to any unsolved local missing persons cases, according to Nantucket Police Department chief Bill Pittman.

The joint investigation into the intact jaw bone, which was discovered Feb. 15 by a person walking on a beach near Wauwinet along Nantucket's eastern shoreline, remains ongoing and involves the Cape and Islands District Attorney's Office, Massachusetts State Police and the state Medical Examiner's Office. Pittman said the determination that there was likely no local connection was made after comparing the jaw bone - which had two dental implants - to the dental records of the missing persons from Nantucket.

"The extent of our involvement was to see if the remains belonged to any of our missing persons cases, which they do not appear to be," Pittman told the Current on Tuesday.

Pittman confirmed those local missing persons cases include: Mary D. Macy, an island woman with early onset Alzheimers who went missing after leaving her home Sconset in 2015; Jon Hemingway, a Nantucket resident who fell off a boat in Nantucket Sound in 2010 and is believed to have drowned; George F. Baker III, the pilot of a twin-engine Beechraft Baron aircraft which crashed into the surf about a mile off Nantucket's south shore in December 2005, whose body was never found; and Dr. Margaret Kilcoyne, who went missing from her home in Tom Nevers in January 1980.

With those cases ruled out, Pittman suggested the possibility that the jaw bone came from an individual who was buried at sea.

"One thing that we found out is there have been probably hundreds of at-sea burials off the coast of Massachusetts over the years," Pittman said. "While these are supposed to take place past the three-mile line we know that the likelihood of remains moving is possible."

Shortly after the discovery of the jaw bone earlier this month, Nantucket Police showed the bone to Dr. Tim Lepore, who serves as the island's medical examiner, to get his assessment. Lepore told the Current that the jaw bone has no teeth, but does have two dental implants which he believed Nantucket Police could use to canvass island dentists to see if there is a match.

The age of the bone was unclear, but given the implants, Lepore said it was relatively recent. Modern dental implants began in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Pittman said that after the Nantucket Police Department played its role, the investigation is now primarily in the hands of state and regional investigators.

"I can’t say specifically where the case is at since the DA and the State Police are in charge of it," Pittman said. "I’m not sure what efforts they have put in or will be putting in."

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