SECOR — Human remains found Tuesday at a home in rural Secor may belong to a body found Saturday in the Mackinaw River.
Authorities suspect both sets of remains may belong to Oakley Mitchell, 74, last of rural Secor, who was reported missing by his family, but DNA tests will need to confirm the identification.
“(Woodford County) Coroner Tim Ruestman arrived on scene and confirmed the discovery of human remains — remains that may be affiliated with the incomplete body discovered in McLean County,” McLean County Coroner Beth Kimmerling said in a statement Tuesday.
The Woodford County Sheriff’s Department notified the coroner’s office shortly before noon Tuesday about human remains found at a farmhouse in rural Secor. Ruestman declined to say why police were called to the residence and what they found there.
“We’re going to hold tight for a few days (on releasing details) until we make sure scientifically that we have a match and a correct identification,” he said.
Kimmerling said she and Ruestman met at the scene near Secor to discuss how best to determine the relationship, if any, between the two cases.
“During this discussion, it was brought to our attention that Oakley Mitchell … has been reported missing by his family,” Kimmerling said. “A DNA comparison will be performed at an independent forensic lab to verify whether the remains from McLean and Woodford counties belong to the same individual, and if so, if they are indeed those of Mr. Mitchell.”
Ruestman said authorities aren’t releasing how long Mitchell has been missing or how long the remains had been there. He also declined to say whether the house where the remains were found belonged to Mitchell.
DNA test results may be available in three business days, or they may take as long as two to three weeks, Kimmerling said. The time will depend on the viability of the tissue samples, she said.
Fishermen found the partially submerged, incomplete body about 8:30 a.m. Saturday beneath the U.S. 251 bridge, just south of Kappa. An autopsy Monday confirmed the death was a homicide, Kimmerling said.
She has declined to go into detail about what injuries the body had suffered or how long the body had been in the water.
The sheriff’s and coroner’s offices for the two counties and Illinois State Police crime scene investigators are working on the case.
Ruestman said no one is in custody in connection with the case.
According to Pantagraph archives, Mitchell was a farmer and a millwright at Caterpillar Inc. in East Peoria. He had been chairman of the Woodford County Democratic Party and ran for the County Board in the mid-1990s.
Anyone with information should contact McLean County sheriff’s Lt. Jon Sandage at 309-888-5019.