Skeletal Remains Found by Farmers Chasing Runaway Pig Nearly 50 Years Ago Identified as Vietnam Veteran

The skeletal remains were found alongside a Munsingwear brand jacket, prompting detectives to nickname the deceased “Munsingwear Doe"

<p>Coconino County Sheriff

Coconino County Sheriff's Office/Facebook (2)

Gerald Francis Long

After nearly 50 years, Arizona detectives have finally identified skeletal remains found near Flagstaff in 1975 as a Vietnam veteran.

The Coconino County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) announced in a press release on Wednesday, May 8, that detectives used DNA comparison, among other scientific methods, to determine that the remains belonged to Gerald Francis Long, who was originally from Minnesota.

“The Sheriff’s Office offers its deepest condolences to Mr. Long’s family,” the CCSO said in its release.

The man's skeletal remains were initially found on April 19, 1975 by farmers in the area who had been chasing a runaway pig when they stumbled on the discovery off Meteor City Road, according to the release. A Munsingwear brand jacket was also found alongside the remains, prompting detectives to nickname the deceased “Munsingwear Doe.”

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Since the discovery, detectives and cold case volunteers have tried to identify “Munsingwear Doe” with little success, and it ultimately took nearly five decades before a breakthrough was possible.

In August 2023 the CCSO and the Intermountain Forensics of Salt Lake City used the Forensic Genetic Genealogy process — a process that emerged in 2018 — in which the DNA of a deceased person is matched to others on genealogy databases. Through this process, they were able to “identify a family line” and by February, identified Long as a “potential match.”

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From there, detectives contacted a family member from the line, who shared Long’s history. They noted that he was a “US Army veteran” who enlisted in January 1969 and deployed out to Vietnam that year.

Further interviews with family members revealed that Long returned home to Minnesota in February 1972 and was discharged from the military a month later. He then told family members that he “was leaving Minnesota and heading to the West Coast,” and had never been heard from again.

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The CCSO said the FBI Laboratory’s Latent Print Unit took the partial fingerprints from the skeletal remains and were able to positively match it with fingerprint records taken from the former veteran. To further ensure that the remains belonged to Long, detectives took a DNA sample from the family and through “DNA comparison,” were able to confirm the skeleton’s identity once again.

While detectives were able to determine the identity of the skeletal remains, they also noted that they were unable to determine Long’s cause of death.

The CCSO noted that in light of the positive identification, Long’s family has “requested privacy.” 

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