LAKE GROVE, Long Island -- Human remains discovered under the basement of a home in Long Island, New York, have officially been identified as the homeowner who went missing 57 years ago.
Police say George Carroll's adult son and his two grandchildren found his remains while excavating the basement of the home in October.
Carroll had been missing since 1961, six years after the family bought the home.
Officials said Wednesday that the remains have been identified as Carroll, and his death is being investigated as a homicide.
The victim's son, Michael Carroll, told Eyewitness News in October that it had been rumored in the family for years that his father may have been buried in the basement. He disappeared when Michael was 8 months old, and the apparent story was he left "to do something" and never returned.
"It didn't just come up overnight, it's something that's been talked about for years," he said. "This is something as we grew up, you know. We heard multiple stories."
The excavation of the basement began a few years ago, but Michael Carroll said it became too dangerous and had to be stopped. It resumed recently with better search technology, but Michael Carroll's sons Christopher and Michael Jr. took over after Michael Sr. suffered a stroke. That is when the remains were found around cement walls.
Steven Carroll was just 5 years old when his father disappeared. He said the family consulted psychics over the years and interviewed people who live in the neighborhood, but it wasn't until they were adults that the search intensified.
"There really wasn't much talk about it," he said. "But we became curious as adults as to where he might be."
DNA testing had to be used to identify the remains, so at the time when the remains were discovered, Michael couldn't say for sure it was his father. But he believed it was.
"I feel great that my dad is free from that crappy hole," he said.
He said his dad fought in the Korean War and that he would like to bury him at Calverton National Cemetery.
"I want him to be a soldier," he said. "I want him to get what he needs."
The remains were found about 6 to 8 feet down, and Michael said he wasn't surprised when he found them. He said he always believed his dad was in basement.
"In my mind, I always felt that I was going to find that," he said. "I'm glad this is over and I don't have to break up my house anymore."
He said he had an idea who may be responsible. He wouldn't elaborate, but he said anyone who may have been involved is long dead.
There was never a missing persons report filed for George Carroll. The mother is deceased, but family members say she didn't talk much about George. They believe it was because she was trying to protect them.
Michael and Steven also have two sisters, who were 7 and 9 when their father disappeared.
Skeleton found in basement identified as homeowner missing 57 years