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Authorities investigate possible ties to missing persons cases after arm bone found near North Platte River

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A Melbeta man setting up a goose blind located parts of a human body, which is now being evaluated by a state DNA lab.

Scotts Bluff County Sheriff Chief Deputy Troy Brown said the man made the discovery on Oct. 18 near the North Platte River on property between Minatare and Melbeta, not far from Link 79E on Highway 92.

Brown said that the hunter found part of a lower arm bone and a piece of cloth. The bone and cloth were located within 100 feet of each other. Forensic pathologists did confirm that the arm is human, he said, and bone marrow was extracted from the arm. From the bone marrow, a DNA sample will be taken and compared with DNA available in missing persons cases locally.

“It could be anywhere from two weeks to a couple months,” Brown said of getting the results. “It depends on how busy they are at the lab are.”

Two cases have possible ties to the North Platte River and DNA comparisons will be made with material collected in those cases, Brown said. One is the case of Chance Englebert, 25, of Moorcroft, Wyoming, who had been reported missing after he left a Gering residence on Saturday, July 6. Englebert had been staying at the home of a relative of his wife. s part of the investigation, Englebert had been captured on video walking past two businesses in Gering and an apartment in Terrytown. The last video of the man shows him walking in the area of the intersection of Terry Boulevard and Stable Club Road in Terrytown, which would not be far from the North Platte River Bridge. The location of his last cell phone activity pinged a tower near the Riverview Golf Course, just west of Scottsbluff and also near the North Platte River.

The other case involves that of Walter “Gene “ Patterson-Black. Authorities searched the North Platte River after the man had been reported missing on May 15, 2016. The man had not contacted anyone in several days and authorities located his vehicle in the parking lot of the YMCA in Scottsbluff. The man is believed to have intentionally entered the North Platte River.

In both cases, authorities with multiple jurisdictions searched the North Platte River and air and K-9 searches were also conducted.

After the arm bone was located, Brown said, authorities contacted Tri-State Search and Rescue and areas of the North Platte River on both sides of the river were searched with a cadaver dog. No additional bones or other materials were located.


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