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Smithsonian asked to help ID remains

Nov. 14, 2012 @ 11:20 PM

HUNTINGTON -- Experts from the Smithsonian Institution based in Washington, D.C., are scheduled to visit the region next week as authorities try to pinpoint the identity of human remains discovered last month in Ona.

A man found a human skull Oct. 21 as he walked on family property along Wire Branch Road in Ona. County, state and federal authorities searched the site for two days. They did not find a complete skeleton, but located clothing, other human remains and a driver's license.

Cabell County Sheriff Tom McComas said experts from the Smithsonian will examine collected evidence and possibly conduct a site visit. Their assistance was requested by the state Medical Examiner's Office.

The driver's license belonged to a Michael Whittier Rigdon of Ona. Investigators visited his listed address and spoke to known family members to no avail. Anyone with information about Rigdon or his whereabouts should contact the Sheriff's Office at 304-743-1594.

McComas said the investigation remains at a standstill until medical examiners can either identify the human remains or determine a cause of death. He said an earlier plea for the public's help in regards to Rigdon prompted some additional information, but no breakthroughs in the case.

The sheriff has said there has been no determination linking Rigdon to the discovered remains. Family members were unsure of Rigdon's whereabouts and as to why his identification would have been found in proximity to the human remains.