A Skull Sat on Fireplace Mantel with Sunglasses on It — and Now Police Say It Was Missing Man

A Tennessee man missing since 2012 is confirmed dead after police say they discovered his skull sitting on a fireplace mantel, wearing sunglasses.

The Morgan County Sheriff's Office did not reveal how it learned about the skull, why it was being held as a keepsake, or who affixed it with the eyewear.

But in a Facebook post on Monday, District Attorney General Russell Johnson said tests performed on the human cranium using DNA from family members of 79-year-old Junior Willie McCann, who disappeared in September 2012, proved it was his.

"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 his post.

A call by PEOPLE to the sheriff's office Tuesday was not immediately returned.

Johnson said the skull allegedly had been discovered in March 2019 in the county, and later placed on the fireplace mantel by an unnamed "someone," where it remained "until the sheriff's office was informed of its existence."

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The sheriff's office subsequently retrieved the skull and sent it for testing by the Knox County Regional Forensics Center and the University of Tennessee Department of Anthropology, which determined it was a link in the unsolved investigation into McCann's disappearance.

McCann, who lived in the Gobey area of Morgan County where the skull allegedly was found, had not been seen since Sept. 9, 2012, reports WBIR.

Authorities conducted what Johnson described as "an extensive search" of the area where the skull was picked up, "according to the man who supposedly found it," but they did not reveal any additional discoveries.

Morgan County Sheriff Wayne Potter ask that anyone with information related to McCann or other missing persons call the office at (423) 346-6262.

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