Skeleton found in Pittsburgh backyard identified as woman who disappeared in 1964
Investigators have identified bones found a year ago in a Pittsburgh backyard as a woman who lived at the home in the 1960s.
A DNA match from a living family member shows that the skeletal remains belong to Mary Arcuri, who purchased the house with her husband, Albert Arcuri, in the early 1960s, Public Safety spokeswoman Alicia George said Thursday. The identification of her remains raises more questions as to how she died and why she was buried in the backyard.
Contractors found the bones and clothing of a woman on Feb. 28, 2018, while building a deck at a vacant house being renovated on Black Street in Pittsburgh’s Garfield neighborhood. The bones were buried beneath a slab of concrete and bricks.
Retired Pittsburgh police Assistant Chief Therese Rocco, who previously headed the bureau’s Missing Person’s Division, told detectives that she remembered the Arcuri couple as her neighbors and friends some 50 years ago, George said.
Investigators learned that Albert Arcuri told family members in the fall of 1964 that his wife, Mary, had left him, police said. No missing person report was filed and police were not notified, George said.
“He stated that Mary had taken her clothing and personal items and left,” George said.
On Thursday, Rocco said she always doubted that story.
“I always felt — did she really leave? She was a good mother, he was a good father. I couldn’t understand why she never made any effort to communicate with them,” Rocco said.
“When (their daughters) got to a certain age, he told his kids that the mother had left, that she took off with somebody. That was the assumption — that she had left on her own,” Rocco said. “Nobody did anything — they did not report her missing, they did not become alarmed.”
Albert Arcuri died less than a year later, when the car he was driving crashed into the former Don Allen Chevrolet car dealership on Baum Boulevard in May 1965.
The bones and a DNA sample from a living family member of Mary Arcuri were sent to the University of North Texas Center for Human Identification for analysis, police said.
Last week, a forensic analyst from the lab confirmed the bones matched those of Mary Arcuri, George said.
Rocco said the DNA sample was provided by the Arcuris’ daughter, Donna, who is Rocco’s goddaughter. Rocco has stayed in touch with her over the years.
“It was a tragedy,” she said.
The investigation continues.
Officials asked anyone with information about the case to call Pittsburgh police at 412-323-7161.
Natasha Lindstrom is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Natasha at 412-380-8514, [email protected] or via Twitter .