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Weird Crimes

Decorative Skull, Barrel of Bones Solve Missing Persons Cases

— November 18, 2020

Police examine a skull on a man’s fireplace and a steel drum full of bones and discover both are remains of missing persons.

A human skull found sitting on a fireplace mantel for more than one year was positively identified as Tennessee resident 79-year-old Junior Willie McCann, who was last seen eight years ago.  According to 9th Judicial District Attorney Russell Johnson, the skull was found in March 2019 by someone in Morgan County.  This individual placed the skull on a fireplace mantel and put sunglasses on it where it stayed until the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office learned of the odd décor and decided to look into the matter.

Law enforcement officers recovered the skull and sent it for testing at the Knox County Regional Forensics Center and the UT Department of Anthropology using DNA from McCann’s family members.  The testing confirmed it was in fact the missing man.

“Speculation and rumor have been that Junior Willie McCann was possibly killed by a family member who is now deceased as well,” Johnson said of the reason behind the missing persons case.

Decorative Skull, Barrel of Bones Solve Missing Persons Cases
Photo by Willian Justen de Vasconcellos on Unsplash

McCann, who lived in Morgan County where the skull allegedly was found, had not been seen since September 9, 2012.  Authorities conducted what Johnson described as “an extensive search” of the area where the skull was picked up, according to the man who supposedly found it, but they did not discover any other evidence and the case remains unsolved.

In similar news, a man in Changhua County has been charged with murder following an investigation in which human remains were found in a steel drum.  On May 11 of this year, a Taoist Priest searching for recyclables accidentally knocked over the drum in a fire alley.  Bones fell out and the priest quickly determined they were human, calling law enforcement to investigate.  Officers also discovered remnants of clothing and a driver’s license from which they were able to determine the body was that of a man who has been missing for 16 years.

Following the discovery, police questioned the missing person’s family, whose name was Lee, and discovered he was likely having an affair with a woman whose ex-husband, Lai, was immediately added to the suspect list.  Although divorced, the one-time couple was living in the same home when the third-party went missing.  The ex-husband admitted to killing his ex-wife’s lover, putting his body in the steel drum, and disposing of it in the fire alley next to a drainage ditch.  Apparently, still having feelings for his ex and becoming determined to break off the relationship, the incident reports states, “The two men had an argument, and Lai picked up a rock and hit Lee on the head, rendering him unconscious.  Lai then put Lee into a vehicle and drove to a local elementary school, where he strangled Lee to death with a rope.”  Lai reportedly was relieved to finally be able to get the crime off his chest as it had been weighing on him all those years.


A Skull Sat on Fireplace Mantel with Sunglasses on It — and Now Police Say It Was Missing Man

DNA linked the skull to a Tennessee man, 79-year-old Junior Willie McCann, who was last seen in 2012

Police solve 16-years missing person’s case after bones found in steel drum

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