Authorities identity man whose skull was found in Morrisville 36 years ago

Trenton Police long suspected Richard Thomas Alt had been the victim of foul play.

Now more than three decades after his disappearance Bucks County authorities have confirmed the 31-year-old man reported missing in 1985 is likely a homicide victim.

Bucks County District Attorney Matt Weintraub announced Monday that forensic genome testing and genealogy has identified a human skull found on the banks of the Delaware River on June 15, 1986 as Alt, closing the oldest of Bucks County's unidentified body cases.

Bucks County authorities had entered information about the skull in the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) database in 2019.

Last year Bucks County Detectives sent the skull to Othram Inc. in Woodlands, Texas for forensic genealogy sequencing and testing. The company, which provided its services to the county for free, specializes in forensic genealogy to solve unsolved cases.

Recently the company notified Bucks County they found a possible match for the skull on a public database where users can upload their DNA profiles. Bucks County detectives later identified the 49-year-old daughter of Alt who confirmed he went missing in 1985, the same year his girlfriend was murdered.

The woman, who authorities did not identify, agreed to share her DNA results from the genealogy site with Othram, which confirmed the woman was Alt's daughter.

Alt's parents were the last to see him alive on Christmas Eve 1984, and they reported him missing to police in early 1985, authorities said. Police suspected Alt and his girlfriend were killed in New Jersey. His girlfriend's body was discovered in April 1985 in the Delaware River in Trenton.

Thomas Alt disappeared in 1985. His skull was found in Morrisville in 1986.
Thomas Alt disappeared in 1985. His skull was found in Morrisville in 1986.

“I can’t even imagine wondering and worrying about a lost family member for even a day, let alone for 37 years. That wait is now over for Mr. Alt’s family,” Weintraub said. “I’m just glad that we could give them some peace of mind with this identification, and the eventual return of his remains to his family.

The identification of Alt leaves at least seven open unidentified cases in Bucks County.

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This article originally appeared on Bucks County Courier Times: Bucks County assists with ID of Trenton man missing since 1985