Police identify dismembered body parts that mysteriously washed up on shore

SEATTLE, WA – Seattle Police Foundation announced Monday that human remains discovered in 2017 and 2018 in the city’s Magnolia neighborhood belonged to Paul J. Bossart, Jr., a 33-year-old man originally from Illinois. The identification came as a relief to Bossart’s family, who had been consumed by mystery for years. “For our family, this ends many years of wonder and gives us closure,” they said.

This resolution began when multiple body parts surfaced near Fourmile Rock, beneath the Magnolia Viewpoint. In late December 2017, a dog found a hand, followed by the discovery of a torso and a black and gold Air Jordan in the same location a month later. Three days after these findings, the shoe’s match was found.

Despite diligent efforts, local police and the King County Medical Examiner’s Office initially could not determine the identity of the deceased or the cause of death. Financial constraints prevented the Seattle Police Department from conducting a DNA test.

However, thanks to crowdfunding driven by the police foundation, almost $15,000 was raised to carry out the DNA tests. The initial analysis pinpointed one relative and indicated 15 other possible family members.

Upon reaching out to the Bossart family, investigators were able to confirm that their son owned a pair of Air Jordans similar to those found with the remains. A subsequent DNA test affirmed the identity as Bossart, Jr.

Bossart, Jr. relocated to Seattle after leaving home in November 2017 and had not been in touch since then. It remains uncertain how his remains ended up in the water.

This case is the second instance of crowdfunded DNA testing leading to identity confirmations in Washington. The Clallam County Sheriff’s Office used the same approach in 2022 to identify 68-year-old Jerilyn Smith, who had been missing since 2018, using a foot found in a shoe along Port Angeles’ Elwah River.