Remains found in Grant Co. identified decades later

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GRANT COUNTY, Wis. (WMTV)-- Human remains found in a small wooded area near Maryvale Heights in 1995 have been identified by authorities using new techniques and technology.

According to Grant County Sheriff Nate Dreckman, the remains were found off of HWY 151. In 1995, then Grant County Coroner Ron Sturmer and the Grant County Sheriff’s Office attempted to identify the man without success. They determined the man died from a heart-related condition. At that time, the FBI was contacted, but authorities were unable to get appropriate fingerprints to check the databases.

In early 2019, Grant County Coroner Phyllis Fuerstenberg reopened the case. Using new techniques and technology by the FBI, they were able to obtain fingerprints. After searching the database, the man was identified as Gale Joseph Byers, according to the sheriff's office on Wednesday.

Byers was born on Nov. 28, 1938, and he was originally from the Boscobel area. Fuerstenberg, with assistance from the Grant County dispatchers and detectives, was able to locate family members and informed them Byers was buried in a county-owned cemetery across from Orchard Manor.

After speaking with the family members, Dreckman and Fuerstenberg said it was decided to leave Mr. Byers where he was currently buried. With his military service, the Grant County Veterans Service office is checking to see what military benefits may be available to place a headstone on the gravesite.

There will be a graveside service, with family, in the near future once a headstone is set in place with proper identification.