A body likely that of a man last seen alive in 2002 was found buried in the front yard of his former home in Jefferson, and he was the victim of a homicide, police said.

Charles “Chuck” Woodburn was 51 when he is believed to have disappeared in 2002, said Maine State Police spokesman Stephen McCausland.

The state Medical Examiner’s Office is working to confirm the identification of the body.

Woodburn wasn’t reported missing until after his widow died in 2010.

Woodburn was married to Diane Darling and the two were living at 219 Neck Road in Jefferson when he disappeared.

Darling later married Robert Gaudette, who now owns the property and may still live there, McCausland said.

Acting on a tip, a team of detectives, along with cadaver-sniffing dogs from state police and the Maine Warden Service, searched the property at Neck Road on Aug. 27 and found the body buried along a stone wall on the property. A backhoe was used to excavate the site, exposing the skeleton.

Police are interviewing family and friends to try to piece together Woodburn’s movements to determine what happened before he disappeared.

David Hench can be contacted at 791-6327 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: @Mainehenchman

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