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Bones Found At Hammond Demolition Site Identified As Missing Woman

HAMMOND, Ind. (CBS) -- Police have identified bones found at the site of a former bait shop in Hammond, Ind., as a 38-year-old woman who has been missing since 1999.

The bones were found on Oct. 5, 2011, at the Great Lakes Bait and Tackle building, at 1718 Indianapolis Blvd. Hammond Police Chief Brian Miller said DNA evidence has confirmed the remains belonged to Francine Carlson, who was reported missing in nearby Whiting in June 1999.

Police said detectives followed up possible leads after finding the bones and collected a DNA sample from Carlson's son and matched DNA taken from the bones. Carlson's family was notified Tuesday night that her remains had been identified.

Miller said the Lake County Coroner has not yet been determined how Carlson died. No one has been charged in connection with the case, although police said they had persons of interest in Carlson's disappearance.

The bones were discovered last October, when a 2-year-old Rottweiler named Brutus began digging around the site of the demolished bait shop.

The dog, who belonged to the owners of the cell phone store next door, had been sniffing the lot for a couple of days.

"I noticed he had something in his mouth. It turned out to be hand with a ring on the finger," said A-1 Wireless store owner Mike Bender. "After that, I went back in to the yard, asked him to dig around a little bit more, and at that point he found a skull."

Two days later, a forensic anthropologist from the University of Indianapolis supervised the exhumation of the remains.

The building had been vacant for a decade before it was demolished last fall.

Carlson originally was from Chicago, but was living in Whiting when she went missing. She was reported missing on June 7, 1999, according to Miller.

She was known to frequent bars in Whiting and north Hammond.

Anyone who knew Carlson around the time she went missing should call Hammond detectives at (219) 852-2906.

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