(CBS/AP) POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. - A medical examiner in upstate New York says a skeleton found walled-up in a basement full of junk has been identified as a first-grade teacher reported missing by her husband more than 27 years ago.
JoAnn Nichols was reported missing in December 1985 by her husband, James.
James Nichols died of natural causes last December at the age of 82. Authorities say a contractor cleaning hoarded items and debris out of the Nichols home in Poughkeepsie on Friday found the bones in a sealed container behind a false basement wall.
On Monday, the Dutchess County medical examiner's office identified the remains as those of JoAnn Nichols, based on dental records.
Dr. Kari Reiber says the 55-year-old woman died from a blow to the head.
CBS New York reports neighbors of the Nichols say they were not surprised by the discovery of JoAnn's remains.
"It's a shock that it actually did happen, but I think deep down we all knew that something like this would eventually happen," one neighbor said. "I've lived here for 27 years so everybody kind of felt the same way."
According to the neighbors, James Nichols was a man of mystery and few words.
"He was always strange, he kept to himself, he really didn't say much to anybody," another neighbor said.
Police say the investigation into JoAnn Nichols' death continues.