Wed 2 pm: W.Va. used national data base on Donofrio case

YOUNGSTOWN – A spokesman for the West Virginia State Medical Examiner’s office said today they used a national data base to help identify remains found in the Ohio River as a missing bar owner, but there still is little explanation on why it took so long to positively ID the victim.

Spokeswoman Marcia Dadison said an autopsy was done on the body of James Donofrio after it was found March 25, 2012, on the shore in Clarington on the Ohio side of the river. However, the autopsy still remains incomplete. Dadison said the medical examiner’s office uses the National Missing And Unidenitified Persons System, or NAMUS, run by the U.S. Department of Justice, which is the agency that provided Donofrios identity to investigators.

But according to Todd Matthews, director of communications for NAMUS, it was more than a full year later when his agency received the information on the remains. Matthews said NAMUS received the data March 27 and was able to find a match by Monday. Matthews said typically, NAMUS is given the information on remains after local agencies have exhausted all other investigation avenues.

Donofrio, 64, had been missing since Sept. 25, 2011, and was the subject of an intense search on the banks of the Mahoning River in the days after his disappearance. He was the owner of the Avalon Gardens Restaurant and Bar on Belmont Avenue.