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Bones of woman found in Berkley

By Maureen Boyle, GateHouse News Service
GateHouse News Service
Posted Nov 15, 2008 @ 12:06 AM
BERKLEY -
For nearly two weeks, investigators quietly tried to identify the skeletal remains of a woman discovered near railroad tracks in town, hoping to bring closure to a family somewhere in the region.

They compared the remains with information in several high-profile missing persons cases - including Taunton mother Debbie Melo, who went missing in Weymouth in 2000 after an argument with her husband, and two New Bedford women who went missing in 1988 and are believed victims of a serial killer.

None were a match.

Now, authorities are hoping someone will recognize the description of the dead woman.

"If there is anyone out there who may know who she may be, we want them to come forward," said Gregg Miliote, spokesman for Bristol County District Attorney C. Samuel Sutter.

Investigators concealed the Oct. 29 discovery of the bones initially, in case the victim was one of the high-profile missing persons - and suspected murder - cases.

The state medical examiner and an archeologist examined the remains and determined the victim was a white woman, between 25 and 35 years old.

She had a metal plate in her arm.

Experts were not able to pinpoint the time of her death, only saying it was sometime between three and 20 years ago.

Miliote said authorities are now turning to experts who will try to reconstruct what they believe her face may have looked like in another attempt to identify her. That, however, will take weeks.

The remains were found off Plain Street in Berkley on Wednesday, Oct. 29, at 2:45 p.m. by a property owner, about 500 feet from the railroad tracks.

"He was clearing brush in the wooded back of his five-acre property when he noticed what appeared to be a human skull several feet away from where he was working," Miliote said.

The skull and other bones were later found at the scene. A state police dog trained to find bodies was also called to the scene.

The woman is one of more than 1,400 unidentified dead entered into the National Crime Information Center missing persons database each year.

Dorothy MacLean, whose daughter Jennifer Fay went missing in Brockton 19 years ago today, said she - like most families of the missing -has mixed feelings every time remains are discovered.

"It is like, do you want it to be Jennifer or do you want to think she is still alive," MacLean said. "That is what I go through. I want to believe she is alive, I don't want her to be dead, but I would like to have some closure at the same time."

Her daughter was ruled out by investigators as the person found in Berkley.

MacLean, formerly of Rockland, said families agonize for years, not knowing what happened to their missing loved ones.

"It is awful," she said. "Every time they find remains somewhere, I have to prepare myself that it could possibly be my daughter."
 
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