COXSACKIE, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Could a skull found in Coxsackie belong to a missing Washington County boy? Police are trying to determine if the skull found near a riverbank may be part of Jaliek Rainwalker’s remains.
If the skull does belong to Jaliek, it would be the first piece of real physical evidence that he is dead. It may also be the key to solving the mystery as to how he died.
The skull was found a week and a half ago in Coxsackie. The Department of Environmental Conservation said a hiker looking for arrowheads on this state land made the discovery.
The DEC says an anthropologist told them the skull looks to have belonged to a young child between the ages of 10 to 13 and that it had been in the area for the last five to 10 years.
That information now has investigators revisiting the case of Jaliek Rainwalker, who disappeared in 2007.
“Yeah, I mean certainly the circumstances are there,”Cambridge-Greenwich Police Chief George Bell said.
Chief Bell says if DNA test comes back confirming the skill belongs to Jaliek it may lend more credence to a tip from early on in the investigation.
A group of fisherman, who frequent a spot along the river in Watervliet, told police that they remembered around the time that Jaliek went missing they saw a male figure dump what appeared to be several garbage bags into the river.
Investigators feel the current could have easily carried remains south.
Bell says Jaliek’s adoptive father, Stephen Kerr, a person of interest in the case, had been in that area, driving Jaliek back to Greenwich after time at a respite foster home in Albany County.
The foster care was a temporary move because Kerr and his wife were in the process of sending Jaliek back to the state.
Kerr’s attorney says his client and his wife are hopeful the skull does not belong to Jaliek.
“I think from my client’s point of view they hope it is not.”
One family member who has never given up on finding Jaliek is his adoptive grandmother Barbara Reeley. She came to Coxsackie to offer her assistance.
“At least part of him could be put at rest. We could have the knowledge and could stop searching,” Reeley said.
The DNA test could take some time to come to come back.