Remains of Virginia Tech Student Missing Since 1998 Identified

Human remains found below a West Virginia bridge belong to a Virginia Tech graduate student who vanished nearly two decades ago, state police said.

Robert Leroy Kovack, 24, disappeared Sept. 18, 1998, while driving to a football game in Morgantown.

His Geo Tracker was found near the bridge days later. It was locked and out of gas. Authorities say evidence suggested Kovack, a native of Rivesville, West Virginia, may have fallen after being hit by a car.

In March 2016, human remains were found in a heavily wooded area below the bridge, along with Kovack's driver's license, a college ID and car keys, authorities told the Roanoke Times. 

Now DNA evidence has confirmed the remains are Kovack's, West Virginia State Police Lt. M.T. Baylous said.

"We're relieved that we can finally put some of this to a close," Kovack's older brother, Michael Kovack, said Tuesday.

At 875 feet, the New River Gorge Bridge is the third-highest bridge in the United States, and the site of a popular "Bridge Day" jumping festival every October.

But the span also has a darker attraction: More than four dozen bodies have been recovered below the bridge since Kovack's disappearance, according to state police.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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