Mystery Murder Victim's Skeleton Found Next to His Cowboy Boots

Detectives announced they have finally identified the body of a man last seen alive nearly 20 years ago - and they believe he was murdered.

Human skeletal remains were found at a rural scrapyard three years ago next to a pair of distinctive leather cowboy boots.

The remains were found alongside a pair of brown cowboy boots at the scrapyard in St. Osyth, in Essex County in eastern England, on April 25, 2019.

William Long's cowboy boots
The remains of William "Bill" Long were found alongside a pair of brown cowboy boots at a scrapyard in St. Osyth, in Essex County in eastern England, on April 25, 2019. Matthew Newby, SWNS/Zenger

Police announced Wednesday they established the skeleton belonged to William "Bill" Long, and they are treating his death as a murder.

"Bill's family have been told and they now have the chance to lay him to rest," said Detective Inspector Kevin Hughes.

"They have questions about what happened to him and our focus now is to get them answers."

He added: "The investigation was declared a homicide investigation but we remain open-minded about how Bill died."

Long, who would now be in his 70s, was last seen or believed to be alive between March 1999 and March 2000.

Detectives used DNA samples from the skeletal remains to identify Long, whose most recent address was Great Bentley in Essex.

Long's sister Patricia said she hadn't had contact with her brother since their father died 26 years ago.

William 'Bill' Long
Detectives in Essex County, England, said Wednesday they identified the body of a man last seen alive nearly 20 years ago as that of William "Bill" Long, and they believe he was murdered. Matthew Newby, SWNS/Zenger

Patricia said in a statement: "After our father died in 1996, we lost contact with Bill and we're desperate for information about what happened to him.

"He was vulnerable and an easy target for scammers and we feel so guilty that we didn't go back to Jaywick to make sure he was ok.

"The next thing we knew was when detectives came and told us Bill's remains had been found.

"It's so difficult to deal with grief and guilt when we don't know what happened.

"If you are afraid and want to remain anonymous this can be arranged. Please help us with anything you know."

Scrapyard where William Long was found
The remains of William "Bill" Long were found at a rural scrapyard in St. Osyth, in Essex County in eastern England, on April 25, 2019. Matthew Newby, SWNS/Zenger

Hughes said: "We're keeping an open mind as to what happened to Bill and how he came to be where he was found.

"I need anyone who knew Bill, saw him, spoke to him or has any information about him or his life at the time he was last seen to come forward and speak to my team."

Produced in association with SWNS.

This story was provided to Newsweek by Zenger News.