The decades-long mystery of “Mr. Bones” has finally been solved after skeletal remains were identified as a missing Oklahoma City man.
Roger Brian Bennett disappeared in 1982 at the age of 26 or 27. In a letter to family, he said he was being discharged from Kessler Air Force Base in Mississippi.
“That was the last they heard from him,” said Detective Jerry Johnson with the Idaho County Sheriff’s Office. Bennett’s remains were found in the state, but his family has no idea how he got there, said Johnson.
Bennett’s remains were found by hunters in 1984 and authorities tied the discovery to an abandoned camp that was investigated the year before, just one mile away.
The remains were a near-perfect DNA match to Bennett’s surviving mother, confirming that he and Mr Bones were the same person.
“On April 8, 2022, DNA Solutions notified ICSO that the probability of a mother-son relationship between Mr. Bones and Wilma Bennett was 99.9803%,” wrote the ICSO in a Facebook post.
“Based on that result, Idaho County Coroner Cody Funke has concluded that Mr. Bones is Roger Brian Bennett.”
The name “Mr Bones” was affectionately given to the remains by ICSO personnel, “who felt he deserved some type of unique personalization,” said the ICSO.
“As many questions as this answers, it brings up more questions,” said Johnson on how Bennett was brought to Idaho.
The cause of death is also unknown at this time, however, Johnson believes that it was not a natural death.
“As I’ve said before, my personal opinion is something violent happened,” he said, pointing out that a lens from Bennett’s prescription glasses was found at the camp and the remaining parts were found with his body.
Despite the identification, Bennett’s case is still open in hopes to fill in the gaps between when he left Mississippi in 1982 to end up in Idaho in 1984.
WHO WAS ‘MR BONES’
Bennett was born in Oklahoma City in 1955, graduating from Blanchard High School. “He enjoyed journalism and was a National Merit semi-finalist,” said the ICSO.
He enlisted in the Air Force, working in a role involved in mid-air refueling before his discharge in early 1982. In his final letter to family, Bennett planned to travel to Louisiana to find work.
Bennett would have been 26 or 27 at the time of disappearance.
“Many new questions replace the answered, but ICSO is pleased that Roger has been identified and his remains will be returning to his family,” read the statement.
“After 37+ years and hundreds of hours of investigation, it was deeply satisfying to see Roger’s face and talk to his sister.”
While interviewing Bennett’s family, Johnson said that the only substantial connection between the man and Idaho was a family trip to Yellowstone during his childhood.
“He enjoyed reading about the Lewis and Clark Expedition, and he wondered at the time what it would have been like to have been with them,” said Johnson.
“I think all of us have a little bit of explorer in us, and Roger may have wanted to have been with them on the trip. It’s a little thing that gives us a hint, because his body was found on the Lewis-Clark trail, one of those areas that is really unchanged from then.”
However, Johnson added that it still doesn’t explain what truly happened to him.
“That’s still a mystery.”