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Human remains discovered in upstate New York in March have been identified as “Zombie Mike,” a former carnival worker accused of victimizing two women, including one who used a wheelchair.
Niskayuna Detective Sgt. Joseph Twitty announced during a Friday press conference that a New York State ID and employee card were found near skeletal remains in a wooded area of Niskayuna in March. Both IDs belonged to Michael Hawkins, a fugitive accused of two rapes. Two molars from the skull and DNA were extracted; a relative of Hawkins later confirmed that it was a match.
“A belt was found hanging from a tree limb near the remains,” Twitty said, indicating that he believes Hawkins killed himself years ago.
Police in Schenectady confirmed to Oxygen.com in August that the DNA in the 2012 case was a match to Hawkins.
Hawkins, who worked for traveling carnival companies, was accused of raping two women in nearby communities before vanishing.
Hawkins allegedly raped a woman who used a wheelchair inside her Schenectady apartment in June 2012. He was charged with rape, aggravated first-degree sexual abuse and other charges in connection with that incident, the Albany Times Union reported. In November 2013, Hawkins allegedly assaulted a friend’s wife at a family gathering in Rotterdam, for which he was charged with first-degree rape.
Hawkins has been missing for the past eight years and the search to find him drew national attention. U.S. Marshals shared videos of Hawkins, which he'd uploaded to YouTube in 2016, hoping members of the public may recognize him; he was featured on the "In Pursuit with John Walsh” series in 2019 and on the CBS series “Perp Patrol.”
Hawkins was reportedly nicknamed “Zombie Mike” because of his poor hygiene and his ability to hide in the woods for long periods of time, WRGB in Albany reported.
Both rape cases for which Hawkins was wanted are now considered closed.
"It's come to an end a little bit longer than we thought it would,” Rotterdam Police Chief Michael Brown said on Friday. “But we're certainly glad that's come to an end not only for our purposes but for both victims in this case as well."
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