Jawbone of US Marine killed in 1951 found in child’s rock collection, experts say

A “rock” found in an Arizona child’s collection turned out to be the jawbone of a U.S. Marine who died in a 1951 training accident in another state, experts reported.

Capt. Everett Leland Yager died after an accident in the air over Riverside County in California in July 1951, an April 16 Ramapo College of New Jersey news release said.

His remains were collected and buried in Palmyra, Missouri — or so everyone thought, the college said.

Years later, a bone found in a child’s rock collection was turned over to the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office in Arizona, the college said.

Labeled “Rock Collection John Doe,” the bone remained unidentified until the sheriff’s office sought the help of a genetics lab at Ramapo College of New Jersey in 2023.

A genetic profile created by the North Texas Center for Human Identification and Intermountain Forensics in Salt Lake City, Utah, was examined by students at a boot camp at the college in July, the college said.

Students found a possible link to Yager’s daughter, whose DNA sample was matched to the jawbone in March, the college said.

Yavapai County sheriff’s investigators said the boy’s grandfather discovered the bone while collecting rocks in California, KSAZ reported.

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