CHATEAUGAY — State Police say they are investigating a murder after finding human remains in a shallow grave behind the home of a Chateaugay man last seen on Feb. 20.
No identification has been made, and an autopsy is to be conducted in Albany in the coming days, said State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation Capt. Robert LaFountain.
Dale Jarvis Sr., 48, was last seen five months ago by his son, Dale Jr., who is known as "D.J." and also lived at 14 White St. in the Village of Chateaugay.
During a second day of excavation in the back yard Thursday, human remains were found buried “below grade deep” where a witness had reported “the yard had been disturbed earlier this year,” said State Police Troop B Commander Maj. Richard Smith Jr.
“The method that the body has been placed behind the house has led us to determine that we're going to be conducting this investigation as a homicide,” he said.
The remains were to be removed later in the afternoon Thursday and taken downstate for an autopsy.
Smith said that if proper identifying documents, such as dental records, are found and compared, the ID could be made “within a week.”
No arrests have been made, and no more information was available “about the individual or individuals involved,” he said, but it is being considered a homicide investigation.
“We can’t rule anyone in or anyone out,” he said.
Smith would not elaborate on circumstances of the crime because those details are only known to the State Police and the killer or killers.
Members of the uniformed State Police and the Troop B Forensic Identification Unit began to excavate portions of a 3-acre property behind the home on Wednesday and started a second day of painstaking work when the remains were found, Smith said.
He and LaFountain praised the officers and investigations for their efforts under trying conditions, adding that this is the fourth time in recent months they have uncovered a body.
Search dogs had been used at the property Wednesday, and a burgundy Dodge Caravan recently towed to the home and parked nearby was processed by investigators.
LaFountain said that investigators would be at the scene, continuing to sift for evidence, at least until Saturday, then the situation would be re-evaluated.
A woman who told police she was Dale Jarvis’s sister arrived at the home with a teen-age boy about 2:25 p.m. and was taken aside by investigators. As BCI Investigator Gary Brown spoke to the woman, she lifted her left hand to the side of her face and slowly rubbed her temple and forehead. The boy placed his hand on her right shoulder and patted her in a comforting manner as they listened. The two returned to her vehicle and drove away a few minutes later, the woman red eyed from crying.
Smith said the woman, whose name he did not know, was told human remains had been found on her brother’s property and that the family would hear from investigators as soon as they knew anything concrete.
Jarvis, also known as “Cookie Joe” or Stephen Dale Jarvis, was described as a Caucasian, 5-foot-9-inches tall, weighing about 200 pounds, with brown hair, blue eyes and a burn scar from his right forearm halfway to his shoulder.
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