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The search for 39 years for teenagers ends in a grave 765 miles from home

When in 1979, Andrew Jackson, "Drew" Greer Jr., 15 years old, was He was found missing in Clayton, Michigan, rumors circulated that he had died, although there was never any evidence.

The case eventually cooled. In the following years, the pamphlets of missing persons that showed the adolescent, forever 15, seemed more disquieting than beneficial.

This week, almost 40 years after Greer was reported missing, Michigan authorities say the persistent mystery was resolved with the discovery of the teenager's remains about 765 miles from where he was last seen alive.

For James Bowman, Greer's half brother, the news means his family can stop waiting and wondering, and finally let Greer rest.

"It's a bittersweet ending …" Bowman told The Detroit News. "Of course, as a family we all wanted him to be alive. … But today we get the closure, it is officially him and they have found it. "

In the strange case of the missing person of Drew Greer, it does not make much sense. The last time someone in Clayton saw the teenager was on February 12, 1979. Apparently, he had been suspended from Addison High School that day after being caught with a pocket knife.

At approximately 5 p.m., a soldier from the Michigan State Police was sent to the home of Greer's mother. According to the police report, Greer's mother told the police that her son had not returned home from school and that maybe he had escaped

"The last time Andrew's presence was confirmed as [having] he left Addison High School in Addison, "reads a summary of the case of the National System for Unidentified and Disappeared Persons, or NamUs.

] Greer's friend, Scott Szeve, told The Daily Telegram of nearby Adrian, Michigan, that he had seen Greer the day the teenager disappeared. According to Szeve, Greer was not anxious to return home and face the consequences of his suspension. Instead, the two stayed in a "fort in the forest." Greer finally left and "that was the last time I saw him," said Szeve.

The investigators reportedly conducted extensive interviews in the case. Rumors were circulating about the teen's disappearance, including one in which he was killed and buried near a barn. However, no objective evidence about the adolescent's whereabouts emerged. The case baffled the detectives and was eventually relegated to the filing cabinet.

In April 2000, Greer's father asked the investigators to reopen the case. According to the police, Greer's father was "very sick with cancer and is desperate to find some kind of closure."

A detective re-examined the file and additional interviews were conducted, but as it happened in 1979, the investigation went nowhere.

Another decade passed without answers.

In December 2014, this time at the request of Greer's half-brother, the case was reopened again. The assigned investigator, the detective sergeant of the Michigan State Police. Larry Rothman, discovered that Greer had never entered any of the national databases of missing persons. It remedies the problem and collects DNA from family members to compare it with unidentified remains, the Daily Telegram reported.

Greer's father died in 2015 and his mother died in 2017, both without knowing the fate of his son.

According to The Telegraph, Rothman investigated the case until December 2017. Before leaving, he said a sentence.

"Asking God, if you want to solve it, you will have to do it because I have done everything I could do," he told The Telegraph.

Meanwhile, Anthony Strickland, a retired sheriff's deputy in Bibb County, Georgia, was wondering about a cold case he had always had problems with: the death of a teenage hitchhiker on Valentine's Day, 1979.

 An undated photo of Drew Greer circulated by researchers.

According to Georgia police, an unknown teenager was attempting to cross Interstate 75 near Macon when he was beaten and killed by a semi. The teenager did not wear identification. Authorities said he had been carrying more than two dozen candy bars and half a dozen pieces of candy.

The police received a tip from a man who claimed he had given the teenager a walk that same day. The man reportedly told police that the teenager said his name was Drew Greer. But, as promising as lead was, the name meant nothing to the authorities in Georgia. The researchers could not verify the suggestion and there was no overlap with the fingerprints of the unidentified adolescent in the national database.

Strickland told The Telegraph that he was a young deputy in the spring of 1979, when he witnessed that the teenager's body was taken to an unnamed grave.

The deputy, who retired in 2000, never forgot about the teenager and sometimes looked for clues on the Internet. He was doing it earlier in the year when he came across a website that contained the names and information of fugitives from across the country. While reviewing the cases that had been reported in February of 1979, he saw the name of an alleged Michigan fugitive, Andrew Greer.

"I looked at a map and I could easily see how it could have reached 75," Strickland told The Telegraph.

 Detectives spent years trying to locate Greer, seen here in this undated photo published by NamUS.

According to The Telegraph, Strickland contacted Rothman on February 12, 39 until the day the teen disappeared.

] In April, Rothman and Strickland were together at the pauper's grave when the coffin containing the remains of the unidentified teenager was lifted off the floor. Later that day, the remains were transported to the crime laboratory against Georgia's investigation. There a DNA sample was taken and sent to the Center for Human Identification at the University of North Texas for comparison.

"Based on the evidence and testimonials [of witnesses] I expect a miracle," Bowman told The Daily Telegram. "It will mean the closure for the rest of the family."

That "miracle" occurred on Tuesday, when the Texas laboratory notified the Michigan State Police that the DNA extracted from the remains in Georgia coincided with Drew Greer. Authorities said they suspect that Greer was killed while on his way from Michigan to Florida, where his father lived.

Arrangements are being made to take Greer's body to Michigan.

Bowman, who was 4 years old when his half brother disappeared, is planning a memorial service. Although he is happy that it has finally ended, he wishes his mother was still alive to hear the long-awaited news, according to The Detroit News.

"Hopefully, she knows the truth," Bowman said.

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