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Melbeta man setting up goose blind finds human arm bone near North Platte River
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Melbeta man setting up goose blind finds human arm bone near North Platte River

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A Melbeta man setting up a goose blind located parts of a human body, which is now being evaluated by a state DNA lab.

Scotts Bluff County Chief Deputy Troy Brown said the man made the discovery Oct. 18 near the North Platte River on property between Minatare and Melbeta.

Brown said that the hunter found part of a lower arm bone and a piece of cloth. The bone and cloth were located within 100 feet of each other. Forensic pathologists did confirm that the arm is human, he said, and bone marrow was extracted from the arm. From the bone marrow, a DNA sample will be taken and compared with DNA available in missing persons cases locally.

“It could be anywhere from two weeks to a couple months,” Brown said of getting the results. “It depends on how busy they are at the lab.”

Two cases have possible ties to the North Platte River, Brown said, and DNA comparisons will be made with material collected in those cases.

One is Chance Englebert, 25, of Moorcroft, Wyoming, who had been reported missing after he left a Gering residence on July 6. Englebert had been staying at the home of a relative of his wife and had been captured on video walking past two businesses in Gering and an apartment in Terrytown. The last video of the man shows him walking in the area of the intersection of Terry Boulevard and Stable Club Road in Terrytown, which would not be far from the North Platte River Bridge. The location of his last cellphone activity pinged a tower near Riverview Golf Course, just west of Scottsbluff and also near the North Platte River.

The other case is Walter “Gene" Patterson-Black. Authorities searched the North Platte River after he had been reported missing on May 15, 2016. Patterson-Black had not contacted anyone in several days, and authorities believe he intentionally entered the North Platte River.

In both cases, authorities searched the North Platte River and surrounding areas.

After the arm bone was located, Brown said, authorities contacted Tri-State Search and Rescue and searched areas of the North Platte River with a cadaver dog. No additional bones or other materials were located.

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