Bakersfield man's death confirmed as homicide 13 years after skeletal remains initially found

Gunshot wound found in skull

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - A man's death has been confirmed as a homicide, 13 years after his skeletal remains were initially found in the Bakersfield area.

On November 19, 2000 skeletal remains were found down an embankment on Granite Station Road, about six miles north of Round Mountain Road in rural Bakersfield. 

The remains consisted of a skeletonized lower portion of a body.  The remains were subsequently identified as belonging to Joseph Carey Wiswell.  The remainder of the body was not found and the cause of death was undetermined. 

On March 08, 2010 an incomplete skull was located in the same general area.  The skull was examined at the Kern County Coroner's Facility and was also examined by a forensic anthropologist.  The cause of death was determined to be a gunshot wound to the head and the death was ruled a homicide.  The skull was then submitted to the Department Of Justice for DNA analysis. 

DNA was obtained and placed in the Dept. of Justice database. 

In March 2013 the family of Wisewell was found  and a DNA specimen was obtained for camparison and submitted to the Dept. of Justice. 

Subsequently, on June 27, 2013 the Kern County Coroner's Facility was notified by the Dept. of Justice that the skull portion belonged to Joseph Wiswell. 

Wiswell's family and the Kern County Sheriff's Office were notified and the cause of death for Joseph Wiswell was changed from undetermined to homicide.

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