Skeletal Remains Near Ga. Cemetery Identified as Man Who Went Missing After Jail Release

The remains found near Crown Hill Cemetery belonged to Joey Roberts, Coroner Michael Fowler told media

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The skeletal remains of a man who had been missing in Georgia since 2020 were formally identified by authorities, according to multiple news outlets.

Dougherty County Coroner Michael Fowler identified the remains found near Crown Hill Cemetery in Albany, Georgia, earlier this month as belonging to Joey Roberts, 46.

“We have contacted the family [of Roberts],” Fowler said at a news conference Friday, per CBS affiliate WSWG-TV. “My prayers and condolences go out to the family of their loved one. Now they can have some closure because [for] three years, they’ve been looking for their loved one. But now this will help bring them some closure that he is deceased and we can get him back to his family.”

PEOPLE contacted the coroner's office for additional information.

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Fowler said at the press conference that prior to Roberts’ disappearance in 2020, he was released from the Lee County Jail and rode to the vicinity where his remains were found, local newspaper the Albany Herald reported.

A search of the Lee County Jail inmate database did not reveal why Roberts had been in jail but showed that he had been released on April 1, 2020.

NBC and ABC affiliate WALB-TV reported that the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) is looking into the cause of Roberts’ death. The GBI did not immediately return PEOPLE's request for comment.

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The coroner also said, per WSWG, that while foul play isn’t considered at this moment in Roberts' death, it isn’t being ruled out amid an investigation.

An obituary notice for Roberts published by Joseph W. Jones Funeral Home said that funeral arrangements are pending.

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