Skeletal remains of Marine captain found in ‘unexpected’ location

Skeletal remains of Marine captain found in ‘unexpected’ location

Researchers in New Jersey recently announced that the partial remains of a U.S. Marine had remained in a children’s rock collection for years.

According to officials, the story begins in July 1951 with the death of Marine Corps Captain Everett Leland Yeager. He was flying over Riverside County, California, during military training when the accident occurred.

This young man is from Palmyra, Missouri. All of his remains are believed to have been taken there, according to a press release issued Monday by Ramapo College.

“All of his remains were recovered in Riverside County, California, and were buried, or at least believed to have been, in Palmyra, Missouri,” Ramapo University officials said in a statement.

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Split image of Jaeger and children's rock collection

Researchers in New Jersey announced that the remains of deceased Marine Everett Leland Yeager (left) were discovered in a children’s rock collection. (Ramapo University / iStock)

“Years later, a kid wanted to start a collection of rocks and probably grew that collection by one while collecting trash in Arizona.”

Eventually, it turned out that the rock was actually a human bone – a jawbone. The remains were turned over to the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office.

The office, along with the Yavapai County Coroner, referred the case to the Ramapo University Investigative Genealogy Center in January 2023.

Researchers obtained samples from Mr. Yeager’s daughter and used DNA analysis to link the bones to Mr. Yeager.

His daughter could be Yeager’s last child, as an online obituary suggests that his son Richard died in 2022. He was 6 years old when his father died.

“A DNA sample from Captain Yeager’s daughter confirms parentage, solving the case and confirming that the John Doe in the Rock Collection is indeed Captain Everett Leland Yeager,” reads a press release from Ramapo College. It was confirmed in March 2024.”

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Everett Leland Yeager split image

Marine Corps Captain Everett Leland Yeager died during military training in July 1951. (Ramapo University)

But university researchers were puzzled as to why the jawbone was found in Arizona, even though the accident occurred in California.

“There is a theory that a scavenger, such as a bird, picked it up while traveling over Arizona and ended up depositing it,” Ramapo University said in a statement.

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

Stock image of children looking at rocks

The jawbone was then taken from the child’s rock collection and turned over to the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office. (St. Petersburg)

“This incident was a lesson in expecting the unexpected and a testament to the power of IGG education at Ramapo College of New Jersey,” Kailen Binder, assistant director of the IGG Center at Ramapo College, said in a statement. .

“The team that worked on this case at IGG Bootcamp included some truly outstanding researchers, and we are grateful to them for their assistance in repatriating Captain Yeager’s remains and returning them to his family. I’m very proud of that.”

Ramapo College sign exterior

Researchers at Ramapo University used DNA analysis to positively identify the remains. (Google Maps)


Fox News Digital reached out to the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office and Ramapo College for comment, but did not immediately receive a response.

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