SOLVED: Skeleton in a box

In 1986, a long-time resident of Thermopolis, Wyoming moved away.  He left some of his belongings in a shed, including an old, locked trunk.  He left the shed with a friend, Newell Sessions.  Then, six years passed.  Finally, Newell couldn’t stand the suspense another minute and opened the trunk.

Inside was a human skeleton with a bullet lodged in the skull. In March of 1992 the skeleton was turned over to the Wyoming State Crime Lab in Cheyenne, where a facial reconstruction was made. Tips came in, but the skeleton’s identity remained a mystery until 2017.

Thanks to advancements in DNA, the Hot Springs County Sheriff’s Office has finally made a positive identification. According to the Sheriff’s Office:

“On 10-19-17 a DNA sample was obtained from an adult female from Iowa who had relayed that her father had been shot in the head by her uncle some time in 1960 and then was placed in a trunk prior to being burried in Iowa. It was then stated that the uncle then dug the trunk back up and transported it to Wyoming where the uncle was working. The uncle then left the trunk behind. The uncle then moved to Mississippi where he later committed suicide. The Wyoming State Crime Lab was able to determine that the female who had submitted the DNA sample was indeed a 99.99% match to the bones that had been collected. The bones have now been identified as being Joseph Mulvaney who was born in 1923. Joseph will now be able to get a proper burial and the Mulvaney family can rest easy knowing that their family member has been found.”

Watch this case now on Amazon Prime in season five with Robert Stack and in season five with Dennis Farina. Also available on YouTube with Dennis Farina. Various seasons available now on Hulu.


  1. Libertango76

    How about the disappearance of Alejandro Espinoza in Los Angeles circa 1985. He was one of the people who helped in identifying the Night Stalker, Richard Ramirez. I think he was once profiled on Unsolved Mysteries.


  2. Jen Y

    Yes, Joseph, no slight to Mr. Farina and all—I grew up with the original show and there is such a nostalgia for me hearing Bob Stack narrate these cases. It is a delight to hear and old friends from the past, catch up on these cases, the joy of those that have been solved, the sadness reading up on and following the ones that have never been solved….


  3. Joseph Russo

    Btw pluto tv has a whole channel dedicated to Unsolved Mysteries with Robert Stack so if you’re a fan check it out


  4. Joseph Russo

    Good Job. Some of these cases amaze me that they are still cold. I just look to see if there was an update on Cecilia newball and unfortunately her case still goes unsolved. you’d think there’d be something by now.


  5. Kylie Washington

    Did you guys ever solve the grand duchess anistasia mystery?


    • Dylan

      Her body was in the main grave the entire time. There was another grave not too far away with the body of the two other members which weren’t in the main grave.


  6. Chanita

    Very Good did y’all Ever Solve The Dexter stonefonke Case ?!


  7. V.E.G.

    I did watch this segment and it finally solved the mystery after several weeks after the worst and also the deadliest mass shooting in the history of North America.


  8. Jeff

    I watch every episode thinking I can still solve them!


  9. Ricky

    Now, if only we can find Audrey Moran and Jonathan Reynoso who have been missing for more than five months.


  10. Leya Schiller

    on the show they said it had to be of a man. Guess that was wrong!! LOL


  11. Shurlock

    What do you know. I was shocked to see this one solved. Awesome work.


  12. Raul S. Alvarez

    This has been my #1 show I take it with delight detective mysteries. And I do miss Robert Stack he was great on unsolved mysteries and Elliot Ness but also Dennis Farina is also a favorite actor of mine glad to see him take over on unsolved Mysteries.


  13. Bill Blaski

    I remember this case and thinking who could it be. Glad they found out who it was.


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