Human remains identified after 24 years in Wisconsin

GRANT COUNTY, Wisconsin (KWWL) – A set of remains found in 1995 in Grant County have now been identified.

Police recovered the remains of man near a small wooded area off of Highway 151 near Maryville Heights. It was determined that the man died of a heart-related condition.

According to the Grant County Sheriff’s Office the body was severely decomposed and authorities were unable to identify the man. The FBI attempted to obtain fingerprints from the remains but were unsuccessful. The man was buried under the name “John Doe” in a county owened cemetery across from Orchard Manor.

This year, Grant County Coroner Phyllis Fuerstenberg reopened the case to see if identification could be possible with new technology. Fuerstenberg was able to obtain fingerprints due to new technology and techniques. The man was identified as Gale Joseph Byers, who was born on November 11th, 1938.

Family members were notified and decided to leave Mr. Byers where he was buried. The Grant County Veterans Service is working to determine what military benefits could be used to place a headstone on the gravesite.

The sheriff’s had the following to say about the investigation in their release:

The Grant County Sheriff’s Office and the Grant County Coroner’s Office would like to thank
all the previous investigators and coroner who worked on the case attempting to identify Mr. Byers, in
addition to the Martin-Schwartz Funeral Home who originally assisted in the burial in 1996.

There will be a graveside service, with family, in the near future once a headstone is set in place
with proper identification.

Taylor Vessel

Taylor Vessel

Multimedia Reporter
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