Positive ID Closes Missing Persons Case

ASSATEAGUE — The Worcester County Bureau of Investigation (WCBI) this week confirmed the remains recovered on Assateague Island in November were those of a Silver Spring man reported missing in Dewey Beach, bringing closure to the months-long missing persons case.

WCBI officials this week announced a Virginia forensic lab last month confirmed the remains that washed on the north end of Assateague Island on Nov. 6 were Jung Han Lee, 36, , who was reported missing in Dewey Beach in late October. Shortly after 3 p.m. on Nov. 6, a federal park ranger patrolling the beach along the north end of the Assateague Island National Seashore located the remains of an unidentified adult male.

The preliminary investigation revealed that sometime in the 24 hours prior to the discovery, the body had washed up on the north shore of Assateague Island in the area of the two-mile marker. According to police reports, the unidentified body was clothed only in a pair of Levi’s jeans and a black Patagonia-brand belt. There was no identification discovered on the body, which was sent to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore for a complete autopsy and possible identification.

While investigating the identification of the remains, WCBI detectives learned of the missing persons case in Dewey Beach involving Lee reported just days earlier and began to attempt to make a possible connection. In December, WCBI detectives met with Lee’s family and obtained a DNA sample from his mother for comparison with the remains found on Assateague.

The DNA sample obtained from Lee’s family along with a DNA sample from the remains were sent to a forensic lab in Virginia. The forensic lab was able to positively identify the remains as Lee, bringing closure to the two cases. Lee’s family members were notified of the identification in mid-February and the Dewey Beach Police Department closed its missing person case upon confirmation of the DNA identification.

Around 11 p.m. on Oct. 23, a concerned citizen contacted the Dewey Beach Police Department to report suspicious property found on the beach in that Delaware resort community. Dewey Beach Police responded to the scene of the discovery and met with a witness, who told officers the property was first observed earlier in the afternoon but was not reported under the assumption its owner would come return later to claim it. Dewey officers recovered the property and took it to the town’s police station.

An inventory search of the property turned up clothing, a large amount of cash, identification cards and numerous journals. The property’s owner was identified as Lee. Information contained in the journals concerned Dewey Beach officers and they concluded from them Lee could be a risk to himself. According to police reports this week, Lee had been under mental duress for several years due to being unemployed.

Also included in the property was documentation that Lee had been in contact with the Easton Police Department two days earlier. Easton Police reported Lee had been dropped off at a convenience store in Easton and was scheduled to take a bus to Ocean City, but that was the last time he was seen.

Dewey police conducted a search of the area, but Lee was not located. All proper notifications were issued to surrounding police, medical and emergency services agencies and the victim’s family was active in the investigation.