Human Skull Found in Arkansas River Identified

Arkansas River

The Arkansas Crime Lab has identified a human skull found in 2008 in the Arkansas River in Fort Smith.

DNA samples obtained from the family of Salvador Serrano Luevano matched DNA recovered from the skull found by two people fishing in a flat bottom boat near a small island on March 30, 2008, according to a police report.

The human skull was positively identified on Sept. 5, Sgt. Daniel Grubbs said Thursday (Sept. 12).

Investigators believe the year before, Luevano and his wife were fishing along the river when they both drowned.

Onn Aug. 14, 2007, the body of Luevano’s wife, 18-year-old Blanca Cortes-Romero, was found floating near the Clayton Expressway, police said. An abandoned vehicle and Romero’s purse was found nearby. Investigators used dental records to positively identify the body.

Police attempted to locate Luevano after the incident, but were unsuccessful. He was ultimately reported missing.

Years later and with the assistance of Crawford County Investigator Clifford Cope,  Luevano’s family was located in Mexico and DNA samples were obtained for comparisons to the skull.

Foul play is not suspected in both cases, and both deaths were ruled as accidental drowning, Grubbs said.

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