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Coconino County Sheriff's Office identifies remains discovered in 1975

Human remains that were discovered 50 years ago near Flagstaff have finally been identified as a Vietnam veteran from Minnesota.

Forensic genealogy helped make the connection. 

The Coconino County Sheriff’s Office says the remains belonged to Gerald Francis Long, but how he died could not be determined.

The case began in 1975, when farmers chasing a runaway pig came across skeletal remains about 40 miles east of Flagstaff.

In August last year, sheriff officials contracted with a Salt Lake City forensic company. Long was a potential genetic match and the FBI confirmed it.

A surviving family member was contacted by the Sheriff’s Office.

Long was discharged from the Army 3 years before his death and told his family in Minnesota that he was heading to the West Coast. That was the last time they saw him.

Greg Hahne started as a news intern at KJZZ in 2020 and returned as a field correspondent in 2021. He learned his love for radio by joining Arizona State University's Blaze Radio, where he worked on the production team.