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Shallow grave, deepening mystery in Jefferson

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    As part of a cold-case investigation, Maine State Police used dogs and then an excavator to determine if Charles Woodburn, missing since 2002, was buried on his property at 219 Neck Road in Jefferson. His remains were found Aug. 27 in this 2-foot-deep grave, left.

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    State authorities believe the skeletal remains they found in this shallow grave in Jefferson last month belong to Charles Woodburn, though a positive identification will require a match with dental records or a DNA link with blood relatives. The state’s medical examiner has said the victim did not die of natural causes. Whitney Hayward/Staff Photographer

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    A road sign points the way to Neck Road in Jefferson, where the remains of Charles Woodburn were unearthed late last month. He was last seen in 2002, but was only reported missing by a family member in 2010. Whitney Hayward/Staff Photographer

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    A sign identifies the Darling-Gaudette property. Whitney Hayward/Staff Photographer

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    Maine State Police Sgt. Jeffrey Love, who is leading the homicide investigation, said: “At the time of the (missing person’s) report, Mr. Woodburn had not been seen for six to eight years prior, which itself creates a huge hurdle for an investigation. ... It’s hard to go back one week, much less six to 10 years to establish that timeline” of a victim’s movements. Whitney Hayward/Staff Photographer

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    Diane Darling-Gaudette

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    Robert Gaudette

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    The 51-year-old Jefferson resident whose remains were found Aug. 27 made his living off the Maine coast as a fisherman, clam digger and urchin diver.

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