Authorities ID body found near Fox Chapel Yacht Club as Kenneth Himes |
Valley News Dispatch

Authorities ID body found near Fox Chapel Yacht Club as Kenneth Himes

Chuck Biedka
Kenneth L. Himes

DNA testing helped authorities identify a man whose body was found in the Allegheny River in late March as 70-year-old Kenneth Himes, state police said Tuesday.

Himes was reported missing from his brother’s home along Cadogan-Slate Lick Road in South Buffalo at about 2 a.m. Dec. 26.

Police said he walked away from his brother’s residence and they also found video of him walking along Ford City Road.

An intense search for Himes in the days after his disappearance came up empty, and a $27,000 reward for information offered by Himes’ family and the personal care home where he lived didn’t produce any leads that enabled authorities to find him.

Himes, who was autistic and had early-onset dementia, lived in a Passavant Memorial Homes personal care home, police said.

State police said they suspect he may have entered the river in Ford City.

Trooper Michael Graham, the lead investigator, said Tuesday that witnesses saw Himes near some ballfields about 200 yards from the river between 4:30 a.m. and 5:15 a.m. on the day he went missing.

“We knocked on doors and asked for any surveillance video,” he said. “We had a suspicion then that he was in the river the morning he was missing.”

By then a huge ground search had been suspended in Armstrong County because of inclement weather.

Then, on March 30, authorities found a body in the Allegheny near the Fox Chapel Yacht Club.

DNA testing done at the state police regional crime laboratory in Greensburg revealed the body was Himes’, police said.

Early in the search, Graham submitted a sample of cells from the man’s toothbrush left behind at the brother’s house.

Graham said he notified Himes’ family Tuesday morning.

“While we prayed for a different outcome and hoped to have our brother, uncle, great uncle, and great-great Uncle Ken at home on December 26, we take comfort and have a peace knowing that he is with the Lord in heaven and will be laid to rest next to his parents,” a niece, Patty Burdett, said in a Facebook post.

Chuck Biedka is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chuck at 724-226-4711, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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