Internet InfoMedia remains identified as vietnam veteran nearly 50 years after farmers chasing pig stumbled upon skeleton

Skeletal remains discovered nearly five decades ago in Arizona have been identified as a Vietnam veteran from Minnesota, authorities said Wednesday.

The remains of Gerald Francis Long were first found 40 miles east of Flagstaff off Meteor City Road on April 19, 1975, by farmers chasing a runaway pig, the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office said. 

Over 49 years, detectives developed numerous leads but were never able to put a name to the victim, who became known as Munsingwear Doe for the Munsingwear brand jacket found with the remains.

In August 2023, the sheriff’s office turned to forensic genetic genealogy, working with Intermountain Forensics of Salt Lake City, Utah. Scientists developed a genetic genealogy DNA profile of the victim and compared it with existing profiles available in genealogy databases.

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Gerald Francis Long

Long enlisted in the U.S. Army in January 1969 and deployed to Vietnam later that year, the sheriff’s office said. (Coconino County Sheriff’s Office )

Forensic investigators identified a potential family line, and by February found Long to be a possible match for the remains.

Detectives contacted one of Long’s surviving family members and learned he had served in the U.S. Army during Vietnam, the sheriff’s office said. Long enlisted in January 1969 and deployed later that year.

Sheriff's brief about remains

An early release from the sheriff’s office asking for help in identifying the remains. Long’s cause of death was not determined in 1975 and remains unknown today, the sheriff’s office said. (Coconino County Sheriff’s Office )

The family member said Long returned to Minnesota in February 1972 and was discharged from the Army a month later. Long was last seen or heard from in October 1972 when he told his family that he was leaving Minnesota for the West Coast. 

Gerald Francis Long

Long returned to Minnesota in February 1972 and was discharged from the Army a month later. In October 1972, Long told his family that he was leaving Minnesota for the West Coast. It was the last time they saw or heard from him, the sheriff’s office said. (Coconino County Sheriff’s Office )

With this new information, the FBI Laboratory’s Latent Print Unit was able to compare partial fingerprints collected from the remains in 1975 to known fingerprint records belonging to Long. The test showed a positive match. 

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DNA collected from Long’s family and compared with those from the remains also proved to be a match.

While the identity of Munsingwear Doe was finally uncovered, the cause of Long’s death was unable to be determined in 1975 and remains unknown today.

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“The Sheriff’s Office offers its deepest condolences to Mr. Long’s family, who have requested privacy at this time,” the sheriff’s office said.

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