Skull kept on Tennessee mantle belonged to man reported missing in 2012


WARTBURG, Tenn. (WATE) — A skull that wound up on a Tennessee resident’s fireplace mantle belonged to a man who had been missing since Sept. 2012, a DNA test determined.

According to District Attorney General Russell Johnson, the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office retrieved the skull, sporting sunglasses, after getting a tip. The Morgan County resident who had the skull said someone else found it in March, 2019 in the Gobey area, less than 10 miles northeast.

A DNA test by the Knox County Regional Forensics Center and the University of Tennessee Department of Anthropology found it belonged to Junior Willie McCann. The match was made using DNA from McCann’s family members.

“Speculation and rumor has been that Junior Willie McCann was possibly killed by a family member who is now deceased as well,” Johnson wrote in a statement.

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Potter said McCann had been missing since September 2012.

According to the missing person’s report, which was filed by his brother, McCann walked out of the house, but never came back.

“According to his brother in the report, it was nothing uncommon for him to walk off from the house. He reported him four days after he’d left,” Potter said.

In March 2019, Potter got a call that a skull wearing sunglasses was sitting on the fireplace mantel of the person who currently lived in McCann’s old house, which was in the Gobey area.

Investigators performed “an extensive search” in the area where the skull was said to have been found. Authorities are now reaching out to the public for information into McCann’s death.

No arrests had been made.

Nexstar Media Wire contributed to this report.

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