Vietnam veteran’s remains identified 49 years after being found in northern Arizona

May 9, 2024, 1:00 PM

PHOENIX — Over 49 years after human remains were found in northern Arizona, authorities have identified them as a Vietnam veteran from Minnesota.

The remains of Gerald Francis Long were identified through genetic genealogy and DNA comparisons, the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office announced Wednesday.

The sheriff’s office worked with the Medical Examiner’s Officer, Intermountain Forensics and the FBI’s Latent Print Unit.

Here’s how the remains of the Vietnam veteran were found and identified

Long’s remains were found by farmers chasing a runaway pig near Meteor City, about 40 miles east of Flagstaff, on April 19, 1975, CCSO said in a press release.

He became known as “Munsinger Doe,” named after the brand of jacket found with his body.

Multiple efforts went into identifying the remains over the years, but none were successful until recently.

In August 2023, CCSO partnered with Intermountain Forensics, which eventually identified a family line through a genetic genealogy DNA profile.

By February, Long was identified as a potential match.

What we know about Long’s journey toward Arizona

Authorities contacted a surviving family member, who told detectives that Long had been a U.S. Army veteran.

Long enlisted into the Army in January 1969 and was deployed to Vietnam later that year. He returned to Minnesota in February 1972 and was discharged from the Army a month later.

The veteran then told his family in October 1972 that he was leaving the state and heading toward the West Coast.

It was the final time his family saw or heard from him, CCSO said.

With that information, authorities compared partial fingerprints from the remains to known fingerprint records that belonged to Long, which resulted in a positive match.

Afterward, Long’s family provided a DNA sample for direct comparison and the remains were confirmed as the veteran.

A cause of death wasn’t determined in 1975 and remains unknown.

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Vietnam veteran’s remains identified 49 years after being found in northern Arizona