Missing Darren Carley: Skeleton identified after 15 years

Darren Carley Image copyright Lancashire Police
Image caption A post-mortem examination found Darren Carley died from blunt force trauma to the head

Police have identified a man whose skeleton was found 15 years ago.

Human bones were discovered on farmland in Charnock Richard, near Chorley, Lancashire, on 26 July 2002.

The find kick-started a murder investigation to try and establish his identity, but who he was remained a mystery.

Advances in DNA have now allowed police to confirm the body as that of Darren Carley, who went missing from his home in Swindon in January 2002 aged 24.

A post-mortem examination found he died from blunt force trauma to the head.

The original police investigation led detectives to consult forensic archaeologists and odontologists (forensic dentist).

Other scientific experts were consulted, which led detectives to believe that the victim may have lived a large part of his life in the West Midlands.

Police also travelled to India after some experts suggested he could have been from the sub-continent.

  • Darren Carley, 24, was reported missing to Wiltshire Police in January 2002
  • His last reported sighting was in Swindon shortly after midnight on 25 January 2002
  • He was believed to be wearing white tracksuit bottoms with black stripes, a burnt orange fleece and white trainers
  • He had links to the West Midlands and Gloucester
  • Mr Carley's skeleton was found in Charnock Richard, near Chorley - nearly 200 miles from his home - on 26 July 2002

The unknown body was buried at Chorley Cemetery but has now been exhumed and returned to Mr Carley's family in Wiltshire.

Det Ch Insp Geoff Hurst from Lancashire Constabulary said detectives have "a renewed focus on finding who killed Darren and piecing together exactly what happened to him after he went missing".

He said there is a six-month gap between Mr Carley going missing and his body being found.

"While I appreciate Darren went missing some time ago I would ask the public to cast their minds back to 2002 - the year when Manchester hosted the Commonwealth Games," he added.

"Did you see or meet Darren at this time? Do you have any information which could help with our investigation or piecing together his final movements?"

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