PITTSBURG — The Kansas Bureau of Investigation and the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office have identified the skeletal remains of a man found Aug. 10 north of K-126 highway on 80th Street in western Crawford County, the KBI announced Friday.


The dead man has been identified as 19-year-old Joseph Ruttgen, according to the KBI, which also announced Friday that he was the victim of a homicide. Ruttgen had been reported missing July 1 by a family member to the Erie Police Department. He was last seen in Parsons.


After receiving a call about possible decomposed human remains on Aug. 10 and responding to the scene, the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office requested the KBI’s assistance in the case. KBI agents and members of the bureau’s Crime Scene Response Team helped with processing the scene before the remains were transported to Frontier Forensics in Kansas City for examination.


Forensic anthropologist Alexandra Klales and forensic scientists from the KBI forensic science laboratory assisted in the identification of Ruttgen. Because of the condition of the remains, DNA was used to positively identify him.


Anyone with information about the circumstances of Ruttgen’s death is asked to contact the KBI at 1-800-KS-CRIME, or the Parsons Police Department at 620-421-7060. Tips can also be submitted online at www.kbi.ks.gov/sar.