Remains identified, death ruled as homicide

Monday, April 20, 2009 | 3:15 p.m. CDT; updated 11:59 p.m. CDT, Monday, April 20, 2009

COLUMBIA —  Skeletal remains found in January at a homeless camp near Conley Road have been identified and the cause of death was ruled a homicide, according to a Columbia Police Department news release.

In February, DNA results determined the remains to be that of Mark D. Dailey, the release states.

The medical examiner’s office worked with forensic anthropologists Stephanie Child and Mark Beary from the MU Department of Anthropology to investigate the remains with help from the Missouri State Highway Patrol Laboratory.

"Forensic anthropologists analyze human skeletal remains to establish a biological profile of an unknown individual, which can assist authorities in narrowing down their pool of potential victims," Beary said. "The typical biological profile ... involves developing estimates of age, sex, ancestry and stature."

On Monday, Dailey's death was ruled a homicide from blunt force trauma to the face and sharp force trauma to the neck, according to the release.

"Forensic anthropologists can determine the kind of trauma an individual experienced by analyzing traumatic defects and fracture patterns in bone," Beary said. "Two types of trauma were evident upon examining the remains: blunt force and sharp force trauma. The blunt trauma was confined to the skull, and the sharp force (in the form of stab wounds) were located on the cervical vertebrae of the neck."

On Jan. 7, a hiker followed a trail in a wooded area north of Conley Road to a homemade shed, saw a skull and other bones and reported it to police, Capt. Brad Nelson of the Columbia Police Department's Major Crimes Unit said at that time. The site appeared to have been abandoned for several months.

Nelson was unable to be reached for comments Monday.

William Marbaker from the highway patrol laboratory declined to comment, saying that the case is still under investigation.

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