A Utah tenant who lives in the former home of a woman who went missing in 1988 found a skull and skeletal remains buried under the home’s cellar, Spanish Forks police tell PEOPLE.
Peggy Sue Case was living in the home when she disappeared in 1988 after a hot tub party, police say.
The current resident “became suspicious” when he noticed a portion of his cellar’s dirt floor sinking. Having learned from a neighbor about Case’s disappearance, he decided to dig into the dirt, police say.
The skull was buried about 18 inches into the dirt and was wrapped in a blanket and plastic mesh. The resident and a friend then called police; authorities have sent the skull to the medical examiner for identification, police tell PEOPLE.
Case, who was also known as Peggy Sue Ellsworth, lived in the home with her boyfriend Micahel Kufrin the year she disappeared. On Monday, authorities named Kufrin a “person of interest” in the case, police say.
On the night of July 9, 1988, Case and Kufrin attended a hot tub party in Payson, police say. Kufrin allegedly believed Case was flirting with other men, which caused tension between the two. The couple left the party together and Case was never seen again.
• Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.
The next day, Kufrin allegedly called Case in sick for work. He then allegedly told them she had gone out of town, but Case’s coworkers became worried and called police on July 13, several days after she didn’t show up to work the first time.
Authorities dug through the cellar’s soil in 1988, but no evidence was ever uncovered and no arrests were made in Case’s case.
Kufrin was allegedly uncooperative during the investigation, police say.
He later served five years in prison for an unrelated theft charge. He refused to discuss the case with the Utah Board of Pardons, the Salt Lake Tribune reports. He is believed to be in Illinois, his home state. (Kufrin could not immediately be reached for comment by PEOPLE.)
Former Spanish Fork Detective Carl Johnston, who worked on the case in 1988, told the Tribune if the skull is identified as belonging to Case, it is “a great thing for her family to have some closure.”