A human skull that had been sitting on the mantel of a Tennessee home was recently recovered by authorities, and positively identified as a man who'd vanished eight years ago.
DNA testing confirmed the human skull belongs to Junior Willie McCann, a Tennessee resident missing since 2012, according to prosecutors.
The skull, discovered “sporting” sunglasses, had occupied the mantel of a man for roughly a year before local authorities were tipped off to the morbid prop.
“Someone subsequently placed the skull on a fireplace mantle (sic) where a pair of sunglasses were added,” District Attorney Russell Johnson, said in a statement. “The skull remained there until the (Morgan County) Sheriff's Office was informed of its existence.”
Authorities didn’t identify the man who found the skull in March 2019 near the community of Gobey, Tennessee in Morgan County.
However, Knoxville television station WBIR-TV identified the man as Brian Kennedy, who reportedly came across the skull in the woods one day near his home.
The Morgan County Sheriff’s Office later recovered the skull, which forensics experts matched to McCann using DNA from his relatives. Authorities, who also executed an “extensive search” of the area where the skull was originally located, believe the missing Tennessee man was murdered by a now-dead family member.
“Speculation and rumor has been that Junior Willie McCann was possibly killed by a family member who is now deceased as well,” Johnson's statement said.
In 2012, family members reported last seeing McCann wearing dark blue pants and a uniform-style shirt.
"Victim's brother stated that he doesn't know of any medical problems but the victim does take an aspirin on a daily basis and [may be] hypoglycemic," a police report at the time stated.
McCann, a farm worker and father to two daughters, was 79 at the time of his disappearance, relatives said, according to WBIR-TV.
Anyone with information related to McCann’s disappearance and suspected murder is urged to contact Morgan County Sheriff’s Office at 423-346-6262.
Crime Time is your destination for true crime stories from around the world, breaking crime news, and information about Oxygen's original true crime shows and documentaries. Sign up for Oxygen Insider for all the best true crime content.