Unidentified victims laid to rest in Newton County

After sitting on a shelf for nearly three decades, the remains of three unidentified victims were finally laid to rest in Newton County. WLFI/File Photo
After sitting on a shelf for nearly three decades, the remains of three unidentified victims were finally laid to rest in Newton County. WLFI/File Photo

NEWTON COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) — After sitting on a shelf for nearly three decades, the remains of three unidentified victims were finally laid to rest in Newton County.

Saturday marked the closing of a chapter for the victims, better known as the “unidentified kids of Newton County.”

Scott McCord has been the Newton County coroner for the past eight years.

“When I took office back in 2009, there were the skeletal remains of three kids that were in the office,” McCord said.

Two of the victims were found in the town of Lake Village in 1983 and were deemed to be victims of serial killer Larry Eyler.

The third victim was found in Morocco in 1988 – her murderer is still unknown.

After no leads were gained, their remains sat on a shelf until 2009 when McCord reopened the cases. Ever since, he’s had one mission – finding their true identities.

“I’ve worked, and worked and worked trying to get these kids identified and get them back home,” McCord said.

Shortly after taking office, McCord decided to put names to faces of the victims, giving the nicknames of Brad, Adam and Charlene.

“Every kid needs a family … they’ve been kind of adopted by our county and they’re our kids,” McCord said.

He said even though the victims still have yet to be identified, he felt they needed to be laid to rest after three decades.

On Saturday, dozens gathered for a funeral service held in Morocco. Several guest speakers talked about the cases.

“The center, we don’t forget about our victims. We want to work towards helping law enforcement solve these cases and a big part of that is always putting a name to people,” said Michael Farish, a consultant for the National Center For Missing and Exploited Children.

The remains of the three were entered in a crypt at Riverside Cemetery in Brook following the service. Even though the remains are unidentified, dozens of people came to pay their respects.

“Things like this do happen in life. We just can’t act like it doesn’t,” funeral attendee Elizabeth Linhart-Musikant said. “These kids are still unidentified to this day — 30 years later. They have to be identified one day.”

McCord said he’s still working relentlessly to find the true identities.

“Part of me, in my mind, knows that we’ve done everything we can as a community to get these kids home. But part of me, in my heart, feels like I’ve failed them.” McCord said.

In the mean time, Brad, Adam and Charlene, can finally rest in peace.

McCord said there are an estimated 1,000 unidentified people sitting on shelves just in Indiana. He said he will continue working with national and state officials to identify the victims.