By Ernie Over, managing editor, county10.com
(Riverton, Wyo.) – A skull found in mid-August of 2012 along the Middle Fork Trail above Popo Agie Falls in Sinks Canyon could be that of missing NOLS instructor Clay Rubano, according to preliminary analysis of the skull by University of Wyoming anthropologist Dr. Rick Weatherman. Weatherman’s analysis of the skull was received this week.
Deputy Fremont County Coroner Mark Stratmoen said Weatherman’s examination revealed “there is reasonablee congruence, based on photosuperimpositioning of the skull, that it is that of Rubano, but DNA matching was suggested.”
Weatherman’s examination determined the skull belonged to a male, aged 40 to 55 years old with predominant European heritage, or possibly American Indian, Hispanic or a mixed ancestry. Rubano was 46 at the time of his disappearance.
Stratmoen said the skull was found in the general area where it is believed Rubano fell to his death while climbing alone. Some bone fragments and clothing were found at the base of a cliff seven months after Rubano failed to return home.
County Coroner Ed McAuslan earlier said the skull is not complete, missing most facial bones and the jaw, which made identification more difficult.
McAuslan said the skull was found by people who were traversing the Middle Fork Trail on Monday, Aug. 13th and that it was recovered on Tuesday, Aug. 14 by investigators and deputies from the sheriff’s and coroner’s offices, plus representatives from the Shoshone National Forest and the BLM.
Stratmoen said the skull will be sent to a DNA lab in Salt Lake City where confirmation of its identity is expected in the next month to six weeks.