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BCSO exhumes body and helps identify 1969 missing person

The Butte County Sheriff's Office (BCSO) helped to identify a man in a 1969 missing persons case.

Posted: Aug 6, 2020 11:47 AM
Updated: Aug 6, 2020 11:51 AM

BUTTE COUNTY, Calif. – The Butte County Sheriff’s Office announced Thursday it has identified a man from a 1969 missing person case.

The sheriff’s office said in Nov. 2019, a citizen came to them saying they received information from the Doe Network regarding a 1969 missing person case.

The Doe Network is a 100% volunteer organization devoted to assisting investigating agencies in bringing closure to national and international cold cases concerning missing and unidentified persons.

Detectives said they researched the case and determined an unidentified man died in Butte County in 1969 due to an accident involving a train. However, Detectives were not able to identify the man in 1969.

Through research, detectives determined there was a high probability the man was Marvin Price McMullen, of Florida. McMullen was born in 1931 and was believed to have been traveling in California in 1969, according to BCSO. Detectives began communicating with McMullen’s family and ultimately obtained DNA samples from a relative of his.

BCSO said it received a permit from Butte County Public Health on April 22, 2020, to exhume the body of the unidentified man. On Saturday, May 2, 2020, BCSO detectives, Chico State Forensic Anthropology Professors, and Butte County Public Works personnel exhumed the body. The body was transported to a local funeral home where DNA samples were collected for testing and comparison.

Detectives said they transported DNA from McMullen’s family members and DNA from the unidentified man to the California Department of Justice DNA lab in Richmond for processing.

In July of 2020, BCSO received the results of the DOJ DNA analysis, which positively identified the man as Marvin Price McMullen. His remains have since been released to his family. The Butte County Public Guardian’s Office said it also assisted McMullen’s family members with burial expenses.

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