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Body found on Lake Ontario shore in 1992 ID’d as man who went over Niagara Falls

OSWEGO COUNTY, N.Y. — Authorities have identified a body that washed up on the shore of Lake Ontario more than 30 years ago as a man who is believed to have gone over Niagara Falls, more than 140 miles away.

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The remains were “badly decomposed and mostly skeletal” when authorities found them on April 8, 1992, according to the Oswego County Sheriff’s Office. A medical examiner determined that the person had died between six months and five years before the discovery.

Authorities compared the remains with missing person cases at the time but were unable to identify the body. In 2008, authorities uploaded a DNA profile of the remains to CODIS, a national database of DNA profiles. However, they generated no new leads, deputies said.

About 20 years after the body was found, in 2002, deputies renewed efforts to identify the body and contacted the Niagara Regional Police Service in Ontario to compare them with unsolved cases in Canada. At the time, authorities got a new DNA sample from the remains.

In February 2024, two years after the new effort to identify the body was launched, the new DNA sample was “found to be a familial match” to DNA collected from the family of missing Buffalo man Vincent Stack, deputies said.

Stack was 40 when he vanished in 1990 at Niagara Falls State Park, according to the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System. Authorities said that he likely went over the falls before his body traveled about 15 miles to the mouth of the river, and then more than 130 miles across Lake Ontario. His remains were found 16 months after his disappearance.

Stack’s family has been notified of the identification, deputies said, and authorities continue to investigate a similar case from 1983.