DNA test for mystery bones

DNA tests are to be carried out on bone samples dug from a Northern Ireland grave in a bid to solve a 30-year identity mystery, it emerged today.

DNA tests are to be carried out on bone samples dug from a Northern Ireland grave in a bid to solve a 30-year identity mystery, it emerged today.

The remains are to be sent to a specialist laboratory in Birmingham for expert examination.

They had been exhumed by police from a graveyard in Strabane, Co Tyrone, in February in an attempt to confirm the identity of the deceased.

Officers carried out the operation following a request from a local family who want to know for sure if the remains are those of a man who disappeared in November 1973.

Police said a body recovered from the River Foyle in February 1974 matched the description of the missing man.

He was buried in Strabane but no formal identification was possible at the time.

However, advances in scientific techniques since then have heightened police hopes that a DNA profile can be created.

A Police Service of Northern Ireland spokesman said: “Since the exhumation in February, we have sought the advice of scientists in Northern Ireland and their view was that the more specialised facilities at the Birmingham laboratory offered a better chance of success.

“It is, however, by no means certain that a profile can be created from the few remains that were exhumed.

“If a profile can be created, we will then seek DNA samples from family members for comparison.”

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