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One year later: Remains along Platte River identifiedTell North Platte what you think
Courtesy Photo­Image
Denys Ray Hughes
Courtesy Photo­Image
An investigator's concept of Hughes, reconstructed from facial remains in 2012

Nearly a year after a skelton turned up along the South Platte River in North Platte, investigators have connected a person to the remains.

The investigation began on April 20, 2012, when the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office was notified of a badly decomposed body on private property near the South Platte River. The remains were found about a half mile west of the U.S. Highway 83 Bridge.

Investigators began the process of checking teeth against dental records.

Bones were sent to a DNA laboratory.

On April 1, Lincoln County Sheriff's investigators received a letter from the University of North Texas in reference to the missing person DNA database, according to a Lincoln County Sheriff's statement that was issued Wednesday.

Investigators were told that the Federal Bureau of Investigation Laboratory had matched the DNA sample, that it was consistent with a convicted offender, Denys Ray Hughes, 64.

Hughes was convicted in 2005 and he served time in prison for attempting to make deadly biological toxins (Ricin) and possession of bomb making materials.

He had been serving time in Colorado and was on his way to Milwaukee, Wisc. where he was ordered to report to a halfway house. He was due to arrive in Milwaukee on May 25, 2011, but never did.

A warrant was issued for Hughes' arrest from the United States Marshals service.

It is possible Hughes got off the bus in North Platte and remained here until he died in late 2011 or early 2012, according to a sheriff's statement.

Hughes' only known next-of-kin, a sister in Wisconsin, will be notified of his death by the U.S. Marshals Service. Arrangements will be made to send his remains to her, the sheriff said.

There were no signs of foul play in Hughes death. Hughes would have been on medication for a heart condition and he was diabetic. Being on the run, it’s probable he was not getting his medications, which could have led to his death. Because Hughes likely died of natural causes, the investigation into the case is now closed, the sheriff said.

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The North Platte Bulletin - Published 4/10/2013
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