VOL. CIIIL ... NO.19 5 June 1996


Cops ID Corpse!
Cliff Prof/Indian Chief
Missing Since 1973

By JONAS OLSON



After a seemingly endless struggle against the twin bureaucratic nightmares of judicial sluggishness and political dynamite, the Cliffton Police Department was finally able to dig up the corpse found by destruction workers beneath Sayers Hall almost eight weeks ago. From fingerprints found on the skeleton's Cliff College belt buckle, Detective Elizabeth Goswell has identified the corpse as one-time Cliff College professor and Nez Perceé Chief Virgil Dubois.

The exhumation came after an unexpected announcement by Federal Circuit Court Judge I.M. Weeke that there were no grounds for the Native American Student Union's claim that the land under Sayers should be under Nez Percé jurisdiction and therefore off-limits to the Cliffton Police Department because of its alleged former incarnation as a Tribal burial ground.

Chief Virgil Dubois (not to be confused with his brother and successor, Chief Dennis Dubois)has been missing since the night of March 21st, 1973, at which time he was presumed to have stolen a sacred tribal relic -- the famous Maltese Falcon -- and fled the country. As recently as last week, it was thought that Chief Dubois might have also been responsible for the death of the "Sayers Corpse", since a fragment of a ruby similar to those in the Maltese Falcon had been identified in its skull. Now police are speculating that he was killed for the bird, either after having stolen it or in an attempt to prevent its theft.




Photo courtesy of Cliffton Police Department
Blowup of the victim's fingerprints on a portion of the belt buckle. Police noted that it is highly irregular to find anyone's but the victim's prints on a belt buckle except in cases of sexual assault.


Forensics experts (borrowed from the Cleveland P.D.) were able to lift
three fingerprints from the Sterling silver Cliff College belt buckle, and Detective Goswell matched them with Dubois' from an old arrest record. Dubois and current Cliff College Security Chief Dick Francis were both arrested in February 1973 for fighting.

"We got lucky," said Detective Goswell. "These were the only set of Virgil's prints known to exist. But we've still got a long road ahead. This is a 23-year-old murder, folks. What we call in the trade "a cold trail'."

When reached for comment, Chief Dennis Dubois expressed sadness over his brother's death, although it was known that the brothers had been fighting bitterly in the weeks before Virgil's disappearance. "I'd always hoped to spit in his face for stealing the tribe's most valuable possession," said Dennis Dubois. "Now I realize that all the while we've been vilifying him, he's been lying under our noses, like a fallen warrior, beneath the floorboards of my old dorm. How ironic that his murderer chose to bury him in an ancient Tribal burial ground. We hope to appeal Judge Weeke's decision so that my brother can be buried where he was found, with his ancestors, where he belongs."

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