- Associated Press - Friday, March 11, 2016

FAYETTEVILLE, W.Va. (AP) - The Latest on human remains found that could be body of a Virginia Tech graduate student who vanished in 1998 (all times local):

4:15 p.m.:

Robert L. Kovack’s big brother says West Virginia State Police have told him remains found near the New River Gorge Bridge are very likely those of his younger sibling.

Michael Kovack told The Associated Press on Friday that investigators told him a positive identification is expected early next week.

The 43-year-old Fairmont pharmacist said the 18 years of uncertainty about his brother’s fate has been “indescribable” for the family. He said they always had a glimmer of hope he would be found alive.

Although Kovack said it’s a relief that his brother’s remains have been found, he’s still troubled by questions surrounding his death. He said those questions may never be answered.

Kovack said his brother had a bright future ahead of him and was weighing several job offers.


3:45 p.m.

West Virginia State Police said Friday that the discovery of human remains and personal possessions found near the New River Gorge Bridge could solve an 18-year-old mystery: the disappearance of a Virginia Tech graduate student.

The remains were found in a heavily wooded area Thursday along with Robert L. Kovack’s driver’s license, a college ID and car keys, State Police Sgt. Kenneth Tawes told The Roanoke Times (https://bit.ly/1P4j0Dn).

The 24-year-old from Rivesville, West Virginia, disappeared Sept. 18, 1998, while he was on his way to a West Virginia University-Maryland football game in Morgantown.

His vehicle was found out of gas five days later. It was parked and locked near the New River Gorge Bridge.

Tawes says an initial investigation indicates the remains belong to Kovack, and they’ll be taken to the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C., for further identification, Tawes said.

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