MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - A ten-year old missing person mystery has been solved. Shelby County Sheriff's Detectives identified found remains in a wooded area in Raleigh as Quirino Mata III.
Mata was reported missing in March of 2001 but his skull wasn't found until 2004 by a man looking for his lost dog.
Erica Cooper lives just yards from where the remains were found. She said it was "kind of a scary feeling" when she found out human remains were located just feet from her backdoor.
Cooper wondered why Police couldn't connect the two cases back then.
Sgt. Kevin Helms with the Shelby County Sheriff's Office told abc24.com, "When the skull was initially found back then, determinations on how to identify who the skull belonged to and the technology has changed." Helms added, "Technology and reporting systems were different."
Memphis Police did search the area where Mata's skull was found back in 2004 but they didn't find much. Thanks to improved technology Helms said the Sheriff's Office was able to gather new information about the case and that information was the reason they searched the area again Monday. Sheriff's Detectives searched a much wider area than what was initially searched.
Detectives aren't sure how Mata died. Right now they're calling his case a death investigation.