Will County Coroner Identifies Human Remains Found in Rockdale from 1997


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ROCKDALE, Ill. — The Will County Coroner’s Office has identified the remains of a person found in 1997 in Rockdale as Marie R. O’Brien from Aurora, Illinois. The identification was made using DNA.

An archeologist from the University of Illinois discovered a human bone on May 13, 1997, while working at a construction landfill in Rockdale. 

The bone was part of debris from the Rust Craft building in Joliet, which was used by various companies since it opened in 1907. From 1986 to 1992, the building was abandoned. In 1995, the basement area was excavated and removed to Rockdale, where the bones were later found.

Investigators were informed by O’Brien’s half-brother in California that he had last spoken to his sister in 1984. The cause of death is still undetermined.

The identification of the remains marks a major development in the 26-year-old cold case. The Will County Coroner’s Office and local law enforcement agencies are continuing their investigation.


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