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Woman’s Skull Is Unearthed in Utah Backyard Nearly 30 Years After She Vanished

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Peggy Sue Case

The skull and skeletal remains found earlier this week in the backyard cellar of a Utah home have been identified as those of a missing former resident — who vanished in 1988.

The remains, which were dug up on Monday by the home’s current resident, may solve the nearly 30-year-old disappearance of Peggy Sue Case, police in Spanish Fork, Utah, announced on Thursday.

Dental records were used to identify the remains, which had been buried behind the house. They are being processed for cause of death.

No arrests have been made in the case. But police said on Monday that Michael Kufrin, Case’s boyfriend at the time of her disappearance, remains a “person of interest.” Kufrin is believed to now be living in his native Illinois. (Efforts to reach him for comment have been unsuccessful.)

According to authorities, he and Case lived together in the Spanish Fork home when she went missing. She was last seen leaving a hot tub party with Kufrin on July 9, 1988.

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The day after the party, Kufrin allegedly called Case in sick for work. He then allegedly told her employer she had gone out of town, but Case’s coworkers became worried and called police on July 13 of that year.

On July 15, Case, who was also known by the last name Ellsworth, was formally declared missing, Spanish Fork police tell PEOPLE.

Authorities dug through the cellar’s soil in 1988, but no evidence was ever uncovered.

Kufrin was allegedly uncooperative during the investigation, police say.

He later served five years in prison for an unrelated theft charge, and he previously refused to discuss the case with the Utah Board of Pardons, the Salt Lake Tribune reports.

On Monday, the current home’s resident “became suspicious” when he noticed a portion of his cellar’s dirt floor sinking, according to police. Having learned from a neighbor about Case’s disappearance in the ’80s, he decided to dig into the dirt.

Her skull was buried about 18 inches down and was wrapped in a blanket and plastic mesh.

The Utah County Attorney’s Office will work in conjunction with authorities and, once a cause of death is determined, will make a decision on whether or not to bring charges.

Case’s family has asked for their privacy.