HOBART | Authorities on Tuesday identified the human remains found last fall behind a Hobart shopping center as a 57-year-old man wanted for escaping work release in Lake County in 2012.
George W. Roberts' bones were found Sept. 2 scattered in a wooded area behind the Crossings at Hobart strip mall in the 2100 block of East 79th Avenue, just north of Southlake Mall, Hobart police Sgt. Jeremy Ogden said.
Investigators located an Indiana Department of Correction identification card registered to Roberts while searching the area.
According to a Hobart police news release, the Indiana State Police Lab developed a DNA profile of the skeletal remains. The results matched the DNA profile police had on file for Roberts, whose last known address was in Kingsbury, Ind.
Although police have determined the identity of the skeletal remains, the cause of death remains under investigation, Ogden said. At this time, police don't have evidence indicating the death was suspicious.
Ogden said Professor Stephen Nawrocki, a forensics anthropologist at the University of Indianapolis, will examine the remains to determine a cause of death.
Roberts was convicted of several crimes, including armed robbery and auto theft, police said.
Roberts was sentenced to 20 years in prison following an armed robbery conviction in 2007, police said.
In 2012, Roberts was transferred from prison to work release in Lake County, where he later walked away, police said.
Hobart police on Tuesday notified Roberts' mother of the identification, Ogden said. She told police the last time she saw her son was while he was in work release, and she brought him clothes during the visit, Ogden said.
It's possible Roberts briefly lived in the wooded area where his remains were located. It's a location where homeless people are known to congregate.
"He may have been there for a night or two," Ogden said.