Ardmore cold case closed

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ARDMORE, OK -- A Texoma cold case takes a new turn. Authorities now know the identity of skeletal remains found in Ardmore three years ago.

Jimmy Frank McCullough was reported missing in June of 2005. The following summer, bones were found not far from the Gold Mountain Casino where he was last seen.

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation and the State Medical Examiner's office say they were contacted by the Ardmore Police to determine the identity of the remains. But miscommunication between OSBI and the ME's office halted any plans for DNA testing.

It would be two more years before the problem was corrected, and DNA testing could begin. That miscommunication upsets McCullough's mother, Violet McCullough.

"It may just be bones to them, but to us this was a person," McCullough said.

A spokesperson with the Medical Examiner's office says the employee who handled McCullough's case is no longer there.

"There was a delay of many months, and we regret that. We certainly extend our regrets to the family," daid Cherokee Ballard with the State Medical Examiner's office.

After the two year wait, a sample was sent to the University of North Texas for DNA testing. It would be another year before test results confirming McCullough's identity came back.

"It can be difficult and it can be time consuming. On this case the family is upset and we certainly understand that and we regret that it took us longer than it should've to determine who this was," Ballard said.

It was last week that Violet McCullough learned the DNA from the bones were her son's. Today, she buried his remains.

"I thought it wouldn't bother me so much but it just literally knocked me out," McCullough said. "I just broke down. That was it."

Though police now know that those remains are Jimmy McCullough's, the way he died is still a mystery, and police have few leads on what may have happened nearly four years ago.

As of right now, McCullough's case is not considered a criminal investigation.