9/11 first responder’s remains found near I-70 in Columbia a month after he went missing

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COLUMBIA, Mo. — Relatives say a man whose skeletal remains were found near Interstate 70 in Columbia was a veteran and 9/11 first responder who had been missing for about a month.

The Columbia Missourian reports that hikers found the remains of 39-year-old Glen Lester O’Neal on Thursday. Columbia police later said O’Neal’s remains were “in the advanced stages of decomposition,” according to a news release.

O’Neal’s brother-in-law, Gregory Silvey, said Monday that a missing person report was filed around the end of June or beginning of July. He described O’Neal as an “energetic person” who “seemed to love life.” He says he doesn’t know when or how O’Neal died.

Cheryl O’Neal, his wife, talked about how her husband’s last disappearance didn’t seem out of the ordinary, according to the Missourian’s report. He texted her the day he left — June 30 — and said he would be home that night. That’s the last she heard of him.

Police have not identified a cause of death, and the investigation is ongoing.

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