Skeleton Found In Chimney Solves 27 Year Case

Skeletal remains found in the chimney of a bank in Louisiana have been identified as those of a man who has been missing for 27 years. The remains of Joseph Schexnider were found when the Abbeville National Bank began renovating the second floor, Schexnider, who vanished at the age of 22 in 1984, was wanted by police for the possession of a stolen vehicle.

Investigators are unsure of the reason for being in the chimney but speculate that Schexnider went into the chimney to rob the bank and became stuck. When his bones were discovered they where accompanied by a set of gloves and a lighter. The bank closed the chimney off in the mid to late 80′s not knowing of the remains inside.

“This was absolutely the first chimney recovery we had ever had,” said Mary Manhein, head of FACES, the lab at Louisiana State University that identified Schexnider’s bones. There weren’t any dental records available so the lab relied on DNA evidence after police obtained a reference sample from Schexnider’s family, who live in the area. “I would submit he died within a few days maximum of when he went into that chimney,” said Manhein. Police speculated the Louisiana native starved to death in the chimney.

Schexnider had served in the National Guard and also worked in the circus for several months until the circus left the country. “Periodically he had been known to leave town,” said Abbeville police spokesman David Hardy. When he disappeared in January 1984 the family reportedly thought he might be running from the law because he had failed to appear in court for possession of a stolen vehicle. His mother didn’t file a missing persons report, Hardy said, assuming her son was on one of his “rendezvous.”

When Schexnider’s mother was first notified earlier this week, Hardy said, she “took it really rough.”

“Now that his mother knows her son is deceased I guess it gives her some kind of closure,” Hardy said.

By: Pat Prescott
Published: Jul 29, 2021
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