Study Underway To ID Bones Found On Beach

OCEAN CITY – There were more questions than answers late yesterday as Ocean City police continued to attempt to unravel the mystery surrounding skeletal remains found on the beach near the high tide line starting Wednesday afternoon.

Shortly before 2 p.m. on Wednesday, police responded to the beach at North Division Street in reference to a citizen’s report of the discovery of possible skeletal remains. Throughout the afternoon and into Wednesday evening, resort police canvassed the beach in the area where the initial discovery was made and continued to find more skeletal remains.

Early on, it was reported the skeletal remains found on the beach were definitely human remains, but police officials backed off that assertion late yesterday.

While speculation about the possible identity of the skeletal remains is premature, particularly since they haven’t yet been confirmed as human remains, according to police, early evidence could point to one or more active missing persons cases in the resort area.

Again, while it might be too early to begin to ponder a possible identity, Delaware State Police (DSP) officials said yesterday they were attempting to determine if the remains could belong to Greg Forte, a 29-year-old Selbyville man who went missing in nearby Fenwick Island in February.

“Of course, we’re going to see if we can eliminate the possibility the remains are his,” said DSP Public Information Officer Sgt. Walter Newton yesterday. “This can only have two outcomes for us in terms of our investigation and neither of them are good. If the remains are his, then there is some measure of closure in the case. If we can eliminate the possibility, then our investigation goes on.”

Newton said Delaware State Police investigators working the Forte case were informed about the recovery of skeletal remains not long after the initial discovery.

“The Ocean City Police Department called us when the remains were found,” said Newton yesterday. “They are very familiar with the investigation because they assisted with the search efforts very early on.”

According to a reliable source, skeletal remains were recovered along the beach as far north as 22nd Street and as far south as Dorchester Street. In one report from an informed source, an individual who recovered one of the bones decided to take it with him from the beach, but when police warned people not to touch or disturb and recovered remains, he allegedly panicked and tossed it in a nearby dumpster. According to the source, he only informed police about his discovery and its location at the urging of a friend.

As of late yesterday, all of the skeletal remains that had been found on the beach on Wednesday had been sent to the Maryland Medical Examiner’s Office in Baltimore for further analysis and autopsy and ostensibly to confirm if they are human.

According to Ocean City Police Public Information Officer Mike Levy, the person who made the initial discovery is a nurse, lending some credence to the assumption the remains are human.

“The pieces of bone we recovered on Wednesday are all going to the medical examiner’s office to determine first if they are human, and second to begin to sort out a possible identity,” Levy said yesterday. “We have an outstanding medical examiner’s office in this state, perhaps the best in the country, and they will sort out exactly what we have here.”