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Thread: Bones found in Saginaw County in 2018 identified as doctoral student, pilot (Xin Rong, 27) who disappeared flying plane in 2017

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    Moderator raisedbywolves's Avatar
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    Bones found in Saginaw County in 2018 identified as doctoral student, pilot (Xin Rong, 27) who disappeared flying plane in 2017

    I thought I posted this missing person (or under weird/strange) back when he went missing because it was such an odd story but now I can't find it. Maybe I read it somewhere else, but I thought I actually posted it...maybe not.

    Three years after human bones were found in rural Saginaw County, the mystery of whose they were has been solved: a pilot and doctoral student whose plane was found crashed in Canada the year prior.

    The Saginaw County Sheriff?s Office confirmed Thursday that the bones discovered Sept. 9, 2018, in Chapin Township have been positively identified as those of 27-year-old Xin Rong, a University of Michigan doctoral student and certified private pilot who disappeared flying a rented Cessna 172 on March 15, 2017.

    The plane had left Ann Arbor and was bound for Harbor Springs in northern Michigan. Apparently having run out of fuel, the plane crashed and its wreckage was found in a wooded area near Marathon, Ontario, north of the Upper Peninsula.

    Rong?s body was not with the wreckage and officials previously said he may have jumped from the plane at some point.

    Despite Rong?s body not having been found, a Washtenaw County judge declared him legally deceased in October 2017.

    The partially clothed bones were found by a man checking trail cameras on his property, about a half-mile south of Gary Road and a half-mile north of M-57. Saginaw County Sheriff?s deputies gathered the bones and sent them for DNA testing.

    While a DNA profile was generated, a match was not immediately made. Originally, Michigan State University laboratory staff described the decedent as likely having been white or Hispanic. They also said the decedent died of severe blunt force trauma.

    More recently, the bones were again analyzed by Houston, Texas-based Othram Inc., which specializes in forensic genealogy. Staff there informed Saginaw County Sheriff?s Detective Sgt. Aaron Simons that the bones more likely hailed from an Eastern Asian or Inuit man.

    Detectives searched for open cases involving missing Asian males in Michigan, developing Rong as a possibility. They contacted University of Michigan police and discussed the Rong case with them.

    Rong?s dental records were sent to forensic anthropologist Dr. Joseph Hefner, who positively identified the bones as having been Rong?s.

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    Moderator raisedbywolves's Avatar
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    Here's the original story:

    The wife of missing University of Michigan student Xin Rong is attempting to get him declared officially deceased, according to court records.

    Surong Ruan is scheduled to appear in the Washtenaw County Trial Court Oct. 5 for a hearing regarding a petition she filed in May, according to the records.

    Authorities believe Rong, 27, jumped from a private plane he had rented as it flew somewhere between Ann Arbor and the north shore of Lake Superior in Ontario, Canada. The plane crashed in Canada but authorities did not find Rong with the wreckage.

    Rong is still listed as missing or endangered by the Michigan State Police.

    Ruan claims this is creating difficulties dealing with Rong's estate, specifically with his property and the airplane rental's insurance company.

    "I cannot address some of these matters until there is a declaration he is deceased," she wrote.

    Ruan could not be reached for comment.

    Rong, a School of Information doctoral candidate, rented a Cessna 172 from Michigan Flyers at Ann Arbor Municipal Airport March 15, according to the petition. The aviation hobbyist's course was set for Harbor Springs in northern Michigan.

    The plane is believed to have crashed around 11:38 p.m. in remote woods near the town of Marathon in Ontario, Canada.

    The plane was empty.

    "(There was) no sign of Rong in the cockpit and there were no signs of footprints leading away from the cockpit," Ruan wrote in the petition.

    The right door of the small aircraft was unlatched and open. Rong's jacket, iPad, wallet and other personal items were discovered inside.

    Canadian officials conducted a ground search near the crash site, but found nothing.

    Soon thereafter, the University of Michigan Police Department listed Rong as a missing person.

    Authorities have concluded Rong likely died by suicide in jumping from the plane at an unknown location during the 463 miles between Ann Arbor and the Canadian woods.

    Rong is believed to have initiated the auto-pilot function on the plane, which kept it flying unmanned until it ran out of fuel and crashed in the woods, according to the petition.

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