Police in Schuylkill County are continuing their investigation of the death of a man who they have now identified as Kevin Lucas, 33, of Gordon.
Lucas was declared legally deceased this week by the Schuylkill County Coroner's Office, after studies of a human tibia bone discovered back in November revealed the bone was that of Lucas.
The man was last seen alive in early March, 2011. Butler Township Police initiated a missing person investigation on March 9 last year, and while the man was never located, his vehicle was found on March 18 last year along a power line spanning the west side of Route 61, south of the Schuylkill Mall.
Police said at the time that personal property belonging to Lucas was found inside the vehicle. Authorities utilized aircraft and cadaver dogs in a search that followed but never located Lucas.
About eight months later, on Nov. 2, 2011, police said a person hiking and walking his dog found the human tibia bone on a ridge of State Game Lands No. 326. The area where the bone was found is east of Route 61, across from where Lucas' vehicle had been located.
Police said through a coordinated effort between the state police, Frackville barracks, and Butler Township police, the human tibia bone and family DNA reference samples were submitted to the University of North Texas, Center for Human Identification and Missing Persons. The DNA comparison testing revealed the tibia was that of Lucas' and based on the investigative findings, a death certificate has been issued by the coroner's office, officials said.
Police said the prior investigation included resources from the following: members of the state police from Frackville, Hamburg, Reading, Schuylkill Haven and Jonestown barracks; the State Police Forensic Services Unit; a cadaver dog from the F.B.I., Philadelphia Division; numerous cadaver dogs and rescue team members from the Northeast Search and Rescue Volunteer Agency, Stroudsburg; and members of the Pa. State Police Cadet Class.
Police said no additional remains of Lucas were found in the prior searches. The investigation is continuing.
An obituary for the man that appears in today's paper indicates his survivors include a brother Roy, and his wife, Michele, of Tamaqua; and three nephews.