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SKELETON IN THE SCRAPYARD: Mystery bones found with cowboy boots ID'd - homicide probe launched

POLICE who investigated a skeleton found with cowboy boots (above) in a scrapyard more than three years ago have been able to identify the remains and are treating it as a homicide.

Essex Police today announced that the bones belonged to William "Bill" Long (below) and appealed for anyone with information about his last movements to come forward.

The remains were found by a site worker at the scrapyard near to Cockett Wick Lane, St Osyth, near Clacton, on April 25 2019.

An Essex Police spokesman said: "Extensive investigations have taken place in the three years since the discovery to try and identify who the skeleton was.

"This work included specialist assistance from a Forensic Anthropologist to establish a timescale of when the person was likely to have died, a review of historic local and national missing person reports, enquiries with financial institutions, the NHS, and the Department of Work and Pensions, and the investigation of enquires generated from previous media appeals.

"We also released images of the cowboy boots found alongside the remains.

"We are now able to confirm he was Bill Long, from the Tendring area, who would now have been in his 70s.

"Our focus is now on how Bill came to be where his remains were found, the circumstances which led up to his death, and when he died.

"Through our enquiries we believe he was last seen, or believed to be alive, between March 1999 and March 2000 and had a girlfriend who’d moved to Australia at about that time.

"At this stage, his death is being investigated as a homicide but we’re keeping an open mind about what happened to him."

Detective Inspector Kevin Hughes, from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: “The process to identify Bill has been measured and methodical.

“Bill’s family have been told and they now have the chance to lay him to rest.

“They have questions about what happened to him and our focus now is to get them answers.

“We’re keeping an open mind as to what happened to Bill and how he came to be where he was found.

“I need anyone who knew Bill, saw him, spoke to him or has any information about him or his life at the time he was last seen to come forward and speak to my team.”

Bill’s sister Patricia said: “After our father died in 1996, we lost contact with Bill and we’re desperate for information about what happened to him.

“He was vulnerable and an easy target for scammers and we feel so guilty that we didn’t go back to Jaywick to make sure he was ok.

“The next thing we knew was when detectives came and told us Bill's remains had been found.

“It’s so difficult to deal with grief and guilt when we don't know what happened.

“If you are afraid and want to remain anonymous this can be arranged. Please help us with anything you know.”

Essex Police has set up a special online portal through which information can be reported:

You can also submit a report online at or use the 'Live Chat' button to speak to an online operator between 7am-11pm.

Please quote the crime reference number 42/64620/19.

Or you can call us on 101 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.


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