Vermilion

Jul 19, 2011 11:14 PM by Maddie Garrett

Police: Close to Identifying Remains Found in Bank Chimney

Abbeville Police said they're closer to confirming the identity of skeletal remains found in a chimney in the Bank of Abbeville, nearly two months after the shocking discovery.

Workers found the remains after starting renovations of the bank's second floor in May. The bones have since been sent to the Forensic Anthropology and Computer Enhancement Services Laboratory (FACES) in Baton Rouge for identification and DNA testing. Police Chief Tony Hardy said they do know the remains were those of a man.

"The only way he could have got into the fireplace is through the top, through the roof," said Hardy.

John Bordelon, a chimney sweep certified by the Chimney Institute of America, said getting stuck in the bottom of a chimney isn't a rare occurrence.

"There's about a person a month in America that dies in a chimney from going in the chimney from the top," he explained.

That's because Bordelon said chimneys generally narrow towards the bottom, making it impossible to get out. He suspects the chimney in the Bank of Abbeville is about 100 years old and is very narrow at the bottom in the smoke chamber.

"The next thing down is the damper, which is maybe five inches by 30 inches, so you're not getting out through the bottom," said Bordelon.

But the larger looming question remains: Who was the man in the chimney? Chief Hardy said they believe they know the identity, but cannot release the name until DNA results come in, but have spoken with relatives of the suspected person.

"Well they haven't seen their son in 20 years, and that's were they're at right now. Like I said, we haven't come out and said for a fact that it is their son, so we want to be sure before we come out and say this is your son we found in this fire place," said Hardy.

Hardy said he expects the DNA results to come in from the FACES Lab very soon.

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