November 12, 2013

Skeletal remains found in Maine likely those of Virginia man

Paul Tolbert, 33, was attending a drug rehabilitation program in Winthrop when he disappeared.

Kennebec Journal

MANCHESTER — The skeletal remains found in Manchester over the weekend have been tentatively identified as those of a Virginia man who had been attending a drug rehabilitation program in Winthrop last year, when he disappeared.

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EXCAVATION: Kennebec County Sheriff’s Major Ryan Reardon, right, carries evidence collection tools as State Police Detective Terry James, center, lugs a metal detector while State Police Detective Sgt. Jason Richards carries hand tools into the woods of Manchester on Saturday afternoon to excavate skeletal remains discovered by hunters earlier in the day. The Sheriff’s Department was called just after 8 a.m. when a deer hunter encountered the bones half a mile up a dirt logging road from the Puddledock Road, according to Reardon.

Staff file photo by Andy Molloy

The remains are believed to be those of Paul Tolbert, 33, of Radford, Va., according to Stephen McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety.

Police contacted Tolbert’s parents on Monday. They have agreed to provide DNA samples to help the state medical examiner’s office make an official identification, McCausland said.

Tolbert was in Maine attending a drug rehabilitation program in Winthrop when his family last spoke to him in January of this year, McCausland said. The family had not reported him missing.

McCausland said there is no indication of foul play in Tolbert’s death.

Hunters found the human skeletal remains around 8 a.m. Saturday about 200 yards off Puddledock Road. Investigators estimated the remains had been there more than a year. Authorities were unable to immediately identify whether the remains were those of a male or female.

The focus of the probe turned to Virgina after police found a Virginia driver’s license with the body.

Chief Deputy Ryan Reardon of the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office said the case officially remains an active investigation until authorities can definitively determine that the remains are those of Tolbert. Once that confirmation has occurred, the remains will be turned over to the family, Reardon said.

“I’m glad there is some closure for them,” he said.

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