Paul Joseph Smith, Jr.

(June 11, 1938 – abt. 1985?)

Published in the Hazleton Standard Speaker, Sept. 12, 1994.

Paul J. Smith, 56, Las Vegas Nev., was found dead Aug. 3 in Flagstaff, Ariz., after being missing for 10 years.

Born in Weston June 11, 1938, he was a son of the late Paul and Elizabeth (Genetti) Smith.

He lived in New Jersey before moving to Las Vegas.

He was a casino worker.

He is survived by sister, Mrs. Helen Prehatney, Winnewood, Pa.

Graveside services will be held at 11 a.m. in Sacred Heart Cemetery, Weston. The Rev. Joseph Bonner will conduct the services.

The Mark S. Harman Funeral Home (west), Conyngham-Rock Glen Road, is directing the arrangements.

Published in the Hazleton Standard Speaker, Sept. 14, 1994.

Former Weston man’s skull found in northern Arizona

A cowboy on horseback found a skull that the Coconino County, Ariz., sheriff believes was that of a former Weston man who vanished nine years ago.

The location of the skull made officials think the deceased is Paul J. Smith, who was born in Weston 56 years ago, Detective Phil Hansen of the Coconino sheriff’s department said.

None of Smith’s dental records were available to check the skull’s identity, but Smith’s vehicle was abandoned in 1985 within two miles of where the skull turned up, Hansen said.

Smith had left Las Vegas, Nev., where he lived in an apartment and worked at a casino, a few days before his vehicle was found, the detective said.

After finding the vehicle, authorities searched the area unsuccessfully and Smith was listed as a missing person until the cowboy rode by, Hansen said.

Anthropologists said the age and weathering of the skull indicates it could be Smith, Hansen said.

The skull, he said, was found in woods 35 miles northwest of Flagstaff, a city in northern Arizona. Later, searchers found other bones and a radio, Hansen said.

Nothing that sheriff’s deputies found now or in 1985 makes them suspect that Smith died of foul play.

The funeral for Smith is scheduled for this morning at Sacred Heart Cemetery in Weston.

Webmaster Note: Paul Smith’s military marker and his obituary indicate his age at time of death was 56 years old in 1994 when his remains were found. It is likely he was about 46 years of age at the time he disappeared in 1985, and Paul probably died close to the time he went missing. Paul’s disappearance and death remains an unsolved family mystery.

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