Deputy: Remains could belong to woman missing since 1970s

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FAYETTEVILLE, W.Va. (AP) — Human remains found buried under a large cliff may be those of a West Virginia woman missing since 1979, investigators said.

A person searching for arrowheads in the Kanawha Falls area on Tuesday found a human skull instead, the Fayette County Sheriff's Office said in a news release. The investigation is being treated as a homicide.

The bones appear to have been left for 30 to 40 years and could belong to Sue Roop, who disappeared more than 37 years ago, Capt. Jim Sizemore said. On Feb. 12, 1979, Roop wrote a note to her three children, telling them to go to a neighbor's if she wasn't home when they returned from school. She took no clothes from her home in Bentree and left a pocketbook with money inside. Her children never saw her again.

That the bones belonged to Roop is only a "wild guess," Sizemore said, but Roop is the only person from the area who went missing around that time.

"We're not hanging our hats on that, by any means, and (have) nothing to substantiate that at this point, but she's the only missing person we have going that far back, in this area," Sizemore said.

The remains will be taken to the chief medical examiner's office to determine the identity of the victim and the cause and manner of death.

"Investigators have recovered some teeth, and there is sufficient biological material to permit DNA analysis and comparison from the remains," prosecuting attorney Larry Harrah said in a statement. "When it comes to murder, there is no statute of limitations on the filing of criminal charges. We don't forgive, we don't forget and we never give up."

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