Bone found along North Platte River confirmed to be of missing man from Scottsbluff

Walter Eugene Patterson-Black was last seen May 2016
Published: Sep. 22, 2023 at 4:28 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 22, 2023 at 4:36 PM CDT
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Scottsbluff, Neb. (KOLN) - The DNA of a man who was last seen in Scottsbluff in 2016 and a bone found in 2021 were confirmed to be a match, the Scottsbluff Police Department said Friday.

A press release from Detective Brandi Brunz with the Scottsbluff Police Department said the department received confirmation on Sept. 14 that the DNA of 73-year-old Walter Eugene Patterson-Black, who went missing back in May 2016, and a human bone that was found near the North Platte River in October 2021 were a match.

Patterson-Black was last seen on May 12, 2016, at a local convenience store and reported missing days later on May 17, 2016. Brunz said in the years following his disappearance, local agencies “have searched on foot, by air, and by cadaver dogs from varying agencies.”

The bone, which was confirmed to be human, and a piece of clothing that resembled the shirt Patterson-Black was last seen wearing was found near the North Platte River between Melbeta and Minatare in October 2021, Brunz said.

Brunz said the bone was sent in for DNA comparison to items that belonged to Patterson-Black that were collected during the initial investigation.

Scottsbluff Fire Department, Scottsbluff County CERT, Airlink, Scotts Bluff County Sheriff’s Office, Goshen County Search and Rescue, and Kris Brock and the Tri-State K-9′s assisted the Scottsbluff Police Department in their investigation.