Remains discovered in a Wisconsin chimney in 1989 finally identified as missing man who last reached out to family in 1970

Authorities have recently announced that the human bones discovered inside the chimney of a Wisconsin music store in 1989 have been positively identified as belonging to a man who had last been in contact with his relatives in 1970.

According to the Wisconsin State Journal, the DNA Doe Project, a nonprofit organization that utilizes genealogy to uncover the identities of unidentified individuals, has recently revealed that the remains belong to Ronnie Joe Kirk. Originally hailing from Tulsa, Oklahoma, Kirk’s identity has now been confirmed.

Authorities made unsuccessful attempts to identify the remains of the individual, known as “Chimney Doe.”

In late 2018, Detective Lindsey Ludden of the Madison Police took the initiative to bring the case to the attention of the DNA Doe Project. In 2021, hair samples from the skull were sent to Astrea Forensics, a specialized DNA sequencing company based in California, known for its expertise in handling degraded samples.

According to Gwen Knapp, a representative from the DNA Doe Project, it took over two years to create a DNA profile that could be used for genetic genealogy analysis. As a result, the bones were successfully identified as belonging to Kirk, a person who was born in 1942, adopted, married twice, and had three children.

Quillbot: According to Knapp, this adoption case was particularly unusual due to the involvement of multiple generations from different marriages. Despite the complexity, the family was able to find a relatively close DNA relative match. Knapp expressed great excitement in being able to restore Ronnie Kirk’s name and provide his family with some closure after his long absence.

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According to Madison police spokesperson Stephanie Fryer, Kirk had his last confirmed contact with his family in 1970 when he got divorced from his second wife in Missouri. Fryer mentioned that Kirk’s children, who are now in their 50s, did not have any knowledge of each other until investigators reached out to them.

Madison Police Chief Shon Barnes stated that the relatives of Kirk have requested privacy, and no further details were provided about them. However, it was mentioned that they were relieved to finally learn about what had happened to him.

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