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Body found on Lake Ontario shore in 1992 identified as man who went over Niagara Falls, drifted over 140 miles

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A body found in 1992 on the shores of Lake Ontario has been identified more than 30 years later as a man from Buffalo who apparently went over Niagara Falls and whose body then drifted more than 140 miles. 

The remains, which were found in April 1992, were "badly decomposed and mostly skeletal," the Oswego County Sheriff's Office said in a news release, and were between six months and five years old. In 1992, attempts were made to identify the remains by comparing them to missing persons cases, but there were no matches. 

In 2008, a DNA profile from the remains was uploaded to CODIS, a national database of DNA profiles, but no leads were generated, the sheriff's department said. In 2022, the sheriff's office "renewed efforts" to identify the remains, and the Niagara Regional Police Service in Ontario began comparing the remains and their DNA profile to unsaved cases in the area. A new DNA sample was obtained at that time. 

It wasn't until February 2024 that the new DNA sample was "found to be a familial match" to DNA collected from family members of Vincent C. Stack, a Buffalo, New York man who went missing in Niagara Falls State Park in 1990. According to the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, Stack was 40 at the time of his disappearance. 

Vincent C. Stack. National Missing and Unidentified Persons System

Familial DNA matching is when a sample from a DNA profile is compared to that of a family member. It allows authorities to widen their search. 

Police believe that Stack went over the falls, and that his remains then traveled about 15 miles to the mouth of a river before drifting over 130 miles across Lake Ontario to wash up on Oswego's shores. 

Stack's family has been notified of his identification, the sheriff's office said. 

A similar unidentified remains case from 1983 is also under investigation, the sheriff's office said. 

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