New York family hopes human remains found in basement will lead to answers about missing father

A Long Island family excavating their concrete basement made a grisly discovery this week they hope might give them answers to a nearly six-decade-old mystery.

Suffolk County police said the family, who owns a home in Lake Grove, N.Y., stumbled upon what could possibly be the remains of the home’s long-lost owner.

Homicide Det. Lt. Kevin Beyrer told reporter DNA tests on the remains dug-up late Tuesday night will help determine if it’s George Carroll, the family’s patriarch, who disappeared in 1961.

“We can’t say for sure that it is the father, but we suspect that it is,” Beyrer told Newsday. “It was just always a family legend or lore that the father was buried in the basement since 1961.”

Police said the four Carroll children spent years searching for their father – a Korean War veteran -- looking online for any clues about his whereabouts. They never received a straight answer from their mother, Dorothy Carroll, on what happened to her father.

Dorothy Carroll died in 1998, Newsday reported.

Based on the rumor that his father might be buried in the home, his son Michael Carroll, 57, hired a company with ground-penetrating radar to examine the basement. The family has owned the house since 1955.

Based on those results, Michael Carroll’s sons, both in their 20s, started digging a few months ago, police said.

Around 10 p.m. Tuesday, they found the remains. On Wednesday, they called the police.

Michael Carroll, a respiratory therapist, told Newsday that he had no doubt that the remains were human bones. He believes they are his father’s.

“I’m happy for my dad because he’s out of there,” he told the newspaper. “He didn’t deserve to be in the hole. Now I can give him a decent burial.”

Beyrer said there is no indication that a missing-persons report was ever filed for George Carroll, but it is under investigation. He said the remains were discovered about four to five feet underneath the basement’s concrete floor. DNA tests will determine who the remains belong to, and the medical examiner will work to determine the official cause of death.

He said the hole may be an old well, which some of the older Carroll children remembered had been covered up by concrete at some point.

At the moment, there is no indication of foul play and it is unclear who the remains got into the basement hole.

Michael Carroll told Newsday that he was only months old when his father disappeared and only has one photo of him.