Akron Police: Wrong corpse exhumed in 40-year-old cold case; authorities continue search for missing teen's body

AKRON, OH (WOIO) - Missing for more than 40 years, the family of an Akron teen told Cleveland 19 News they think they know where Linda Pagano is – they just can't confirm it yet.

Michael Pagano, Linda's brother, told Cleveland 19 that he had given up a long time ago on finding out what happened to his sister.

Michael said he was told that his sister disappeared from his step father's Akron home on September 1, 1974, after she had a fight with him.

Michael said he never believed his sister ran away but thought he'd never know what happened to her.

Until last March, when he said he was contacted by an Akron police sergeant who gave him new hope.

He said the sergeant, and a web sleuth, put together some of the pieces of the puzzle with assistance from new technology, and determined that the remains of a young woman found in 1975 might belong to Linda.

"She was basically treated like a runaway which is another reason they missed I think when the remains were found," said Michael.

In 1975, the remains of a young woman were found in Strongsville, they were not claimed, and they were buried in a Potters field in Cleveland.

"They say she wasn't but she was forgotten about," said Michael.

Remains were exhumed from the Potters Field – but they were the wrong remains.

Hugh Shannon, a spokesperson from the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner's office, said due to no graves being marked and old records, they received the wrong plot location and thus exhumed different remains than those that might belong to Linda.

Shannon said that the case connected to the remains that were exhumed will be looked at as well. He said he couldn't share information about any future exhumation because if the remains turn out not to belong to Linda, then he said another family's privacy would be violated.

"All me and my [older] sister, and [Linda's] friends, she had a lot of friends, and all of them are upset about this we just want closure," said Michael.

Since the remains have not yet been exhumed, they have not been DNA tested, so no one knows for sure if the remains belong to Linda.

A spokesperson for the Akron Police Department told Cleveland 19 that the department is attempting to provide closure to Linda's family, and said if they are identified as belonging to Linda and if it looks as if Linda was murdered, they will pursue the case to figure out who the culprit was.

Copyright 2017 WOIO. All rights reserved.