Thursday, December 14, 2000

Body found in Lake Erie identified

The Associated Press

        CLEVELAND — A skeleton found inside a car submerged in Lake Erie for nearly 20 years has been identified as that of a man whose family thought he had moved away.

        Assistant Cuyahoga County Coroner Robert Challener said police recovered Robert Wong's driver's license when they pulled a Ford Pinto from the bottom of the lake.

        The car was found Nov. 21 near Edgewater Park while workers were pumping out an area to build new boat ramps, said Dave Frank, assistant park manager of the Cleveland Lakefront State Park System.

        Investigators confirmed Mr. Wong's identity when they matched DNA from the skeleton to DNA from one of Mr. Wong's three sons.

        Officials said Mr. Wong died in 1981 at the age of 57. Mr. Challener said Wednesday that doctors won't be able to determine a cause of death for weeks.

        When Mr. Wong disappeared, his brother just thought he had moved away from Cleveland.

        “I really didn't think that much about it,” Edward Wong said. “Nobody really knew what happened, but we didn't see each other that often.”

        There are no records that anyone searched for Mr. Wong.

        He married in 1962 for a second time and had three children with his wife Joanne, court records show. The couple lived in Cleveland Heights while Mr. Wong worked at a restaurant.

        The Wongs divorced in 1973.

        Edward Wong said his brother was living in an apartment in suburban Mayfield Heights when he disappeared.


ELECTION 2000 SPECIAL COVERAGE: Tristate reaction and impact from Al Gore's concession and George W. Bush's transition to the presidency, plus the latest news from Associated Press.

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