Questions and shock surrounded adjacent neighbors after skeletal remains were uncovered in a heavily wooded area near Brook Knoll Road in the Town of Horseheads.
“I don’t know how that person, who was from Heights, got up here, that’s a mystery,” Tom Robinson, who lives across the street from the scene, said. “It’s a quiet neighborhood really, and you know, you wouldn’t expect that around here.”
A number of residents said this wasn’t the first time New York State Police responded to this case. They said this past winter, State Police lined up along Brook Knoll Road after a property owner discovered a human skull.
“They were up here in February and they found a skull supposedly back then, they went up in the woods and they were up here for about five hours,” Robinson said.
Neighbors said the snow-covered ground was frozen at the time and it wasn’t until April 13 when State Police returned to uncover the rest of what was left of a human.
The Elmira Heights Police Department dipped into the investigation after they said personal effects were found at the scene, including a New York State driver’s license.
This led them to believe the bones are the remains of Randy Nichols, who was 48 when he vanished in 2010.
“We checked into various reasons why he might disappear,” Rick Churches, Chief of the Elmira Heights Police Department, said. “We know he was supposed to go visit with his mother that day, or at least that’s what he told family members, and then he wasn’t seen since then.”
Churches said they don’t have reason to suspect foul play at this time.
The Chemung County Medical Examiner sent the bones to an anthropologist for DNA testing to identify the skeletal remains.