TROY TOWNSHIP, Crawford County — Human remains found in late September near Townville have been identified as those of a Venango County man, and foul play is not suspected, said Crawford County Coroner Scott Schell.

The remains were determined by a DNA analysis to be those of William John Ward, 36, of Seneca, said state police at the barracks in Corry and Schell.

Ward was reported missing in June 2017 and was last seen in the area of Steadman Road in Troy Township — about 3 miles east of Townville. Police said Ward had reportedly gone hiking in the area.

The remains were found by a hunter around 4:30 p.m. Sept. 29 in a wooded area off Steadman Road, police said.

Staff from Mercyhurst University’s Forensic Anthropology Department assisted state police and the Crawford County Coroner’s Office in recovering the remains.

A DNA sample from the remains recovered was analyzed by NMS Labs of Horsham, whose personnel compared it with a DNA sample from one of Ward’s parents, Schell said.

DNA from the remains and one of the parents were found to be a 99.99993 percent match, Schell said Tuesday.

Foul play is not suspected at this point, Schell said.

“From the remains that were recovered (in September) — which included multiple bones — there were no signs of trauma or injury,” he said.

The remains are in the custody of the Crawford County Coroner’s Office.

Schell said the coroner’s office plans additional searches for more remains.

Recommended for you