Jeffrey Bratcher found?

Jeffrey Bratcher has been missing from Washington State since 1974. I know very little about his case, but he made the news today. Apparently eight sets of human remains have turned up in the University of Washington’s anthropology department, including the “partial skull of a juvenile. The remains may have been found by a resident who mailed the remains to the University of Washington from Bay Center, Wash., postmarked Sept. 9, 1980.” They think the skull might be Jeffrey’s. For the sake of his family I hope it is.

Who the hell, when they find bones, mails them to a university anthropology department? When you find human bones lying around you’re supposed to call the police. If they turn out to be ancient, that’s for the police to determine. How on earth did this happen?


18 thoughts on “Jeffrey Bratcher found?

  1. Aimee February 22, 2009 / 2:17 pm

    And what’s wrong with the anthropology people, that they didn’t take one look at these bones and say “Whoa, back the cart up! This aint’ no ancient Indian relics!” Did they even ask “Where did these come from, have the police given you the all-clear to send this in?”
    Somebody, probably several somebodies, was asleep on the job, methinks.

  2. Meaghan February 22, 2009 / 2:21 pm

    It reminds me of the story of H. H. Holmes, a serial killer from the 1880s. He disposed of some of his bodies by stripping the skeletons and selling them to anatomy schools. No one asked where he got them. In 1700s and early 1800s people often sold bodies to medical schools for dissection, no questions asked, because everyone knew these bodies were usually stolen from graves. A few times, though, the body sellers actually murdered people to sell their corpses. In one famous case from the 1830s, the murders were caught when they tried to sell a corpse that was practically still bleeding and the medical school guy got suspicious.

  3. Aimee February 22, 2009 / 2:39 pm

    Those were Burke and Hare, right? In Scotland?
    I read “The Devil in the White City” all about the 189 World’s Fair and HH Holmes. He was a pretty scary guy. Got away with it fora long time, and almost got away with it forever.

  4. Meaghan February 22, 2009 / 3:04 pm

    Actually, I wasn’t referring to Burke and Hare. They did the same thing (multiple times) but the killers I was talking about were two men whose names I forget, but they had a wonderful book written about them called The Italian Boy: a Tale of Murder and Body Snatching in 1930s London.

  5. forthelost February 22, 2009 / 6:45 pm

    I think some people assume if they find remains they have to be ancient and not recent. That’s my theory anyway.

    Dylan Thomas wrote about one of those cases in his screenplay The Doctor and the Devils.

  6. Aimee February 22, 2009 / 6:55 pm

    I think probably the casual finder of bones might be excused, but the lab people, whose very business is bones and knowing where and from what time period they came from, are definitely supposed to know better.

  7. amy May 5, 2009 / 7:31 pm

    There was an episode of Cold Case Files on A&E, where two young boys were missing in Canada, near the same place where the remains of those two “babes in the woods” brothers were found. A man, walking through the park, found a skull and took it home because he found it “interesting”. He was an excentric, mentally challenged man, and he kept the skull until some 5-8 years later, when someone told him he should take it to the police, so he did. It helped identify one of the missing boys, whose name was Ramsey Something. These were cases that were solved in the late 80’s/early 90’s. Anyway, some people will do strange things.

    I wonder if whomever found this skull back in ’80, thought they would bein some sort of trouble, so they mailed it anonymously to some place other than LE. I am more puzzled by why anthropologists didn’t look at it more closely and contact LE themselves.

    Have we heard any further if this is Jeffrey?

  8. janice stout December 6, 2009 / 1:13 pm

    First I would like to tell you that I am Jeffrey Bratcher’s older sister. And I appreciate that people still care and are trying to make a difference. I like many ,wonder how in the world could this university put 8 sets of remains up on a shelf and compleely forget about them. Samples of what they believe might be Jeffrrey’s have been sent to North Texas University and the FBI for DNA analysis. I pray that this will finally put an end to my mother’s never ending nightmare.
    Thanks for caring,

  9. Joyce Enyart December 12, 2009 / 6:46 pm

    I am Jeffrey Bratcher’s mother. The comment above is from my daughter. Imagine how I and my other three children felt when he heard these remains had been at the University of Washington since 1980! If someone had done the right thing then, he would have been missing for six years. As it is it has 35 years that we have been waiting. I was notified of the “find” last February and am still waiting for a DNA reoirt. It has been almopst ten months now. Every single day when I wake up I think this may be the day that will give us closure. Unless you have personally experienced the disappearance of your child or sibling, they is no way you can truly understand the feelings, the anguish, nor the pain that this gives you. It is gratifying to know though that there are still people out there thinking about Jeffrey. Thank you and God bless you.

    • Scott Cokeley September 6, 2010 / 9:46 pm

      I have read about Jeffrey, who is my age, and his story has touched my heart. I live and have grown up in the Grays Harbor area, and I have developed an interest in missing persons cases and there are several in our area. I just want to express that Jeffrey and the family are in my thaughts and prayers.

  10. Joyce January 11, 2010 / 6:16 pm

    I would like to receive e-mail notices when som,eone leaves a comment about my son, Jeffrey Bratcher

    • Cara (Hampton) Hoyt May 15, 2018 / 1:39 pm

      Hi Joyce and Janice… I am Cara, Donna and Jim Bratcher were my aunt and uncle. I have followed Jeffrey’s story since I was very little and I pray for peace and closure for you all. Jeffrey deserves better than a shelf in an anthropology department storage locker.

  11. Becky June 17, 2010 / 11:10 pm

    I was a very young girl when Jeffrey Bracher disappeared and did not learn about it until I was an adult and had developed an interest in long term missing persons cases.

    I do not understand how anyone can find remains and not report it to the authorities. To me it just seems common sense, and then for the university to have them just on a shelf sitting, for years to me is idiotic. The person who found the remains needs to be questioned, and the site needs to be mapped. I truly hope that the remains are those of Jeffrey Bratcher. His family deserves to know what happened to him and they need to be able to put him to rest.

  12. Don Brulja May 10, 2011 / 6:42 pm

    Hi” Hope your well

  13. Becky May 10, 2011 / 6:54 pm

    Hi, was just wondering what was going on with this case if anything. And if any information or resolve had come from the remains that were sent to the university anthropology department. I will continue to check in, this case has me by the heart.

  14. Don Brulja May 11, 2011 / 4:45 pm

    HI” Send me a e mail. I been thinking of you all.
    Let me know how your doing. Your old frind Don.

  15. May 14, 2011 / 5:14 pm

    Hello old friend from long ago. As close as I can come to any communication with you has been about 34 years. Don and I have never forgotten about your boy Jeff. I cannot imagine the life that you have endured all these years. Don and I do think of you and your children and often wonder how life has been for all of you. If you care to get in touch with us Don is on face book. We still live in Tonganoxie at the same place. You were here several times when you were back in Kansas City.
    Do know we care and would love to hear from you. Loueta

  16. Justin August 4, 2011 / 6:49 pm

    My understanding is that DNA was extracted from the skull, and the profile was compared to Jeffrey’s mother and it isn’t him. What is known about the skull is that it’s of a child around 8 years old, and the skull is less than 50 years old. They were not able to determine the sex or race from only a partial skull.

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