ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Human remains discovered in a fire pit have turned a missing persons investigation into a murder investigation.
Monroe County Deputy Chief Michael Fowler and Investigative Sgt. David Bolton held a press conference Friday to give an update on missing Parma man, William Mason.
Mason, 69, was last seen on Tuesday, May 25 around 10:30 a.m. near his home in the Town of Parma.
“We were able to locate a fire pit that’s on that property,” Bolton said. “In the fire pit we found what we believe to be bones. We sent those bones to the medical examiner’s office. We had a forensics anthropologist look at those bones and we can say with certainty now that the bones were in fact human bones that we found in that fire pit. At that point, this became a murder investigation.”
Police say they are now working with the medical examiner’s office to determine if the remains found are in fact Mason’s.
“We’re working with the medical examiner’s office and we’re working with the Monroe County crime lab,” Bolton said. “We can’t identify who they are at this point, but that’s who we’re working with to try and get to that point, but I can’t say one way or the other.”
Bolton said there are currently two persons of interest in connection to the investigation, adding that both persons of interest are local and have spoken with investigators.
“We’ve done a number of search warrants, we’ve recovered a number of videos, done interviews and we have two people of interest at this point,” Bolton said.
Bolton was quick to clarify that the persons of interest are not considered suspects at this time.
“We do have some ideas, but nothing that were ready to release at this time,” Fowler said. “For the public’s welfare, we want to share that to our belief, this was not random crime. We believe that Mr. Mason was just the sole target, if in fact those are his remains.”
In late May, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, along with multiple local fire departments, the Livingston County Sheriff’s Office K9 Unit and the Massasauga Search and Rescue Team launched an exhaustive search effort of Mason’s property and the surrounding area.
Shortly thereafter, officials say the investigation was handed over to the Criminal Investigation Section, which began tracking and developing leads. Their involvement led to the execution of a number of search warrants being executed, including an extensive searches of a home at 592 Trimmer Road, and Mason’s West Ridge Road property.
The MCSO has set up a tipline for Mason. Call 585-753-4175 if you have any information.
“I continue to be impressed by the attention to detail and endurance our investigators and deputies have displayed throughout this investigation,” said Monroe County Sheriff Todd K. Baxter in a Friday press release. “The thoroughness and dedication of those working this investigation will ensure we leave no stone unturned.”
Watch the full news conference
Check back with News 8 WROC as we will continue to update this developing story.