University of North Texas Center for Human Identification identifies Orrin Mastin of Bath

BATH — Skeletal remains discovered by a hiker last February in the woods just outside the Village of Bath have been positively identified as a Bath man who went missing in January of 2013, New York State Police investigators said Wednesday.

Through a complicated and lengthy process that utilized the Monroe County Medical Examiner's Office, anthropology experts in Texas, and DNA from a local family member, State Police investigators were able to identify the remains as belonging to Orrin Mastin of Bath.

Although the cause of death has not been released, there is no evidence of foul play, a State Police senior investigator said.

According to authorities, Mastin was last seen on Jan. 18, 2013, and was subsequently reported missing to the Bath Village Police Department. An investigation conducted in 2013 by Bath police failed to develop any viable leads. It was noted that Mastin did not take any personal effects with him, leaving behind medications, his wallet and credit cards, and stored clothing.

Mastin, who was 53 years old at the time of his disappearance, had not been seen or heard from since the initial missing person report.

This big break in the case came on Feb. 19, 2017 when a hiker walking through an undeveloped area north of Wood Street and Muck Circle in the Town of Bath came upon what appeared to be human remains. The ensuing investigation determined that the remains were an almost complete human skeleton that appeared to have been exposed to the elements for a prolonged period of time.

A neighborhood canvass by responding troopers and Bath Police Department officers developed information that redirected attention to the missing person report for Mastin in 2013.

The remnants of clothing observed on the remains closely resembled the last reported clothing description of Mastin, and the location of the remains was consistent with his last known direction of travel on foot, authorities said.

The New York State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Bath-based troopers, the Forensic Identification Unit headquartered at Troop “E” in Canandaigua, and a State Police K-9 Unit searched the immediate location where the body was discovered.

That extensive search did not turn up additional human remains or evidence to suggest foul play, said Senior Inv. Curt Eaton of the State Police.

The remains were collected in conjunction with the Steuben County Coroner’s Office and were forwarded to the Monroe County Medical Examiner for further action. Due to the lack of available detail, the remains were then sent to the University of North Texas Center for Human Identification (UNTCHI) for analysis.

"That was a decision made by the Monroe County Medical Examiner's Office," Eaton said.

The remains were reassembled and examined at the North Texas Anthropology Center, which extracted DNA which was then compared to DNA samples that were voluntarily provided by a known family member.

"After reviewing the 2013 report to the Bath Police Department, the evidence collected and observed at the scene, the results of the DNA comparison, and the conclusions compiled by the UNTCHI," State Police were able to   establish the identity of the skeletal human remains as belonging to Mastin, Eaton said.

The investigation into the cause of Mastin’s death is continuing, but foul play is considered very unlikely. Eaton said that with identification now established, the medical examiner will attempt to determine a cause of death and will then report the findings to the Steuben County Coroner's Office.

The "happenstance" discovery by the hiker was a critical moment, Eaton acknowledged, noting that "no one had seen or heard" from Mastin since his disappearance four years earlier. Eaton said the positive identification may "provide some closure" for Mastin's family.