Skeleton in Chimney Solves 27-Year-Old Mystery

By Greg Wilson
|  Friday, Jul 29, 2011  |  Updated 1:09 AM CDT
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A skeleton wedged in a chimney solved a 27-year-old mystery.

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The fate of a man who went missing 27 years ago was revealed when renovators found a skeleton wedged in the chimney of an historic bank building.

The remains were found in May in an Abbeville, La., building when construction workers began restoring it. They were recently identified as Joseph Schexnider, who vanished in 1984 before a court appearance on charges of stealing a car, according to CNN. Schexnider, then 22, was presumed to have run away, as he had many times before.

The remains were identified by a team at Louisiana State University's forensics lab. The cause of death was most likely dehydration and starvation, said Abbeville Police Lt. David Hardy.

How Schexnider got stuck is still a mystery. He had a cigarette lighter and gloves, but no bag of burglary tools or means to carry off any loot. And the chimney was closed off from the bank anyway, so he couldn't have pulled off a heist.

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