Word on skull identification not likely for weeks

Nov 28, 2012 From staff reports

Fremont Coroner Ed McAuslan said he could know by the end of January whether the partial human skull found this summer near the Popo Agie Falls belonged to Lander hiker Clay Rubano, 46, who went missing in 2007.

McAuslan said Tuesday that the skull has been submitted to Sorenson Forensics in Salt Lake City. It will be compared to Rubano's other remains, which were found about a mile from the skull's location, McAuslan said.

He expects to hear results of the comparison within the coming months. If the skull is not Rubano's, McAuslan said he will launch a second investigation that would involve "another long process."

"(Rubano is) the only one that we know of that disappeared in that area," McAuslan said. "If it's not him, then we have somebody new we weren't aware of that disappeared there.

"We would start a whole new case investigation as to missing people and trying to do comparisons with what we've got as far as age, sex, race and so forth."

A report from the University of Wyoming suggests the skull belonged to a white man between 40 and 55 years old.

A hiker discovered the skull in August about a mile above the Popo Agie Falls in the Wind River Mountain Range near Lander. The falls is an estimated two-mile hike from Bruce's parking lot.

A team, including members of the Fremont County Sheriff's Office, the Fremont County Coroner's Office and the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management archaeologists, recovered the skull the next day.

Searchers in the spring of 2008 found some of Rubano's personal effects near Sheep's Bridge, as well as bone fragments that McAuslan and Sorenson Forensics employees confirmed to be Rubano's.

Evidence suggested the experienced hiker may have fallen and suffered hypothermia.

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