CHATEAUGAY Police searching a residence for evidence pointing to the whereabouts of a man missing for months discovered human remains buried on the property, state police disclosed Thursday. Although the remains have yet to be positively identified, the find officially shifted the search for Dale S. Jarvis Sr. from a missing person case to a homicide investigation, according to state police.
The nature of this investigation and the method that the body has been placed behind the house has led us to determine that we are going to be conducting this ... as a homicide investigation, state police Troop B Commander Maj. Richard C. Smith Jr. said at the scene Thursday.
Law enforcement has been looking for Mr. Jarvis for about three weeks, Maj. Smith said Wednesday. He said police developed information that he had not been seen or heard from since late February. Police acquired a warrant to search his 14 White St. home Tuesday for clues to his whereabouts.
Franklin County District Attorney Derek P. Champagne said the body had been removed and was en route to Albany for an autopsy tentatively scheduled for Saturday morning.
Maj. Smith said the investigation has not yet reached a point where police can name a suspect or suspects.
At this time, we cant rule anyone in or anyone out, he said.
Until the body is removed and forensically examined, we will not be able to determine the cause or manner of death, Maj. Smith said. Its not readily apparent so that will be a fact that remains for the coroner to determine over the coming days.
Maj. Smith added that identifying the remains could take up to a week, if investigators have the normal records they would use to do that.
The body was found buried behind the house in an area that a witness deposition revealed had been disturbed earlier in the year, according to Maj. Smith. He said the witness is not the confidential informant who he said Wednesday helped police develop information that Mr. Jarvis had been missing for some time.
Mr. Jarviss brother Allen said Dale Jarvis Jr. claimed he buried a mattress and box spring using a backhoe in the days after his father mysteriously disappeared.
The son claimed that on a night in late February, a group of men came to the house and his father went outside to talk to them, according to Allen Jarvis. He said the son claimed his father came back inside, gave him his keys and cellphone and left, saying he was going south.
Dale Jarvis Sr.s father, Maynard, said it was normal for his son to disappear with no word for long periods, sometimes up to a year. He said he has not spoken to his son in several years. He said his son became angry when he reported him missing after he vanished for a significant period of time while living in the Plattsburgh area.
Dale Jarvis Jr. was unavailable for comment, as he is incarcerated in the Franklin County jail, Malone, on a felony first-degree criminal contempt charge stemming from a Tuesday night domestic incident.
Maj. Smith praised the work of troopers, BCI investigators and the Troop B Forensic Investigation Unit, saying that their tedious and meticulous work in the hot and humid weather goes above and beyond ordinary police work.