Published On: Tue, Oct 31st, 2017

‘Unsolved Mysteries’ ‘Skeleton in a Box’ case finally closed as dead body identified as Joseph Mulvaney

Tips for the popular TV show “Unsolved Mysteries” and DNA testing led Hot Springs County Sheriff’s Office to a 99.99% match to the bones in a 25-year-old missing persons case.

Joseph Mulvaney, born in 1923, has been identified as the victim after a DNA sample obtained from a woman in Iowa tipping officials to a link between the case and the death of her father, shot in the head by her uncle sometime in 1960.

Allegedly, the woman stated that her uncle then placed her father’s body in a trunk before burying it in Iowa.

“Bones Case” composite of victim

The Sheriff’s Office says the uncle later dug the trunk back up and transported it to Wyoming where he was working. The uncle then left the trunk behind. The uncle later moved to Mississippi where he committed suicide.

The Wyoming State Crime Lab was able to determine that the female who had submitted the DNA sample was indeed a 99.99% match to the bones that had been collected.

“Joseph will now be able to get a proper burial and the Mulvaney family can rest easy knowing that their family member has been found.”

The Hot Springs County Sheriff’s Office wants to thank the Wyoming State Crime Lab, Jessica Hager with the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs), Shelley Statler (granddaughter of Joseph) who never stopped trying to locate Joseph, Mitchellville Police Department, and all the dedicated Sheriff Deputies who worked this case to its finish.”

The show page, episode “Skeleton in a Box,” fills in more of the timeline of the mystery, detailing ownership of the trunk and forensic testing.

John Lumley, the sheriff of Hot Spring County, turned the skeleton over to the Wyoming State Crime Lab in Cheyenne, in hopes that maybe the bones could tell analyzed and more information revealed. Sandra Mays was the lab technician that examined the skeleton and ultimately developed the clay, three-dimensional facial reconstruction.

Of the victim Mays stated: “He was in his 50s to 60s.  Probably stood about 5’8, plus or minus an inch and a half, was a Caucasian male.  The bullet was from a .25 caliber weapon that was produced in the in… 1904, and then available in the United States about 1908.”

More Unsolved Mysteries HERE


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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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  1. […] case appeared on Unsolved Mysteries in February 1993. According to the Global Dispatch, a viewer told detectives her uncle murdered her father in 1960 and buried him in a trunk. […]

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