Why was skeleton in chimney of Louisiana bank?
Joseph W. Schexnider, in an undated photo, disappeared in 1984. His remains were found in a bank chimney in May.
July 27th, 2011
09:41 AM ET

Why was skeleton in chimney of Louisiana bank?

Skeletal remains found in the chimney of an Abbeville, Louisiana, bank two months ago have been identified as those of a local man who hadn't been seen in 27 years.

The remains are those of Joseph W. Schexnider, who vanished at age 22 in January 1984, Abbeville police said. His disappearance was noted after he failed to show up for a court hearing on a charge of possession of a stolen vehicle, according to a report from CNN affiliate WAFB-TV in Baton Rouge. When Vermilion Parish sheriff's deputies showed up at his home to take him in to custody, Schexnider's mother said he had fled to avoid arrest.

The remains were discovered in May when construction workers were doing renovations on the Bank of Abbeville, WAFB reported. Tests by the Louisiana State University Forensic Anthropology and Computer Enhancement Services Laboratory established the remains were those of Schexnider, who would be 49 years old now. Authorities say he likely died of dehydration and starvation, reported CNN affiliate KATC-TV in Arcadia-Lafayette.

What remains a mystery is why Schexnider was in the chimney.

Abbeville Police Detective Lt. David Hardy told KATC that Schexnider had gloves and a cigarette lighter on him, but no bag or anything to indicate he planned to carry loot from the bank. And Hardy told the TV station there was nothing to indicate that Schexnider was killed and his body dumped in the chimney.

"There's no signs of foul play in this investigation, so as of now it's going to be a closed case," KATC quotes Hardy as saying.

Hardy told The Advertiser newspaper that if Schexnider had planned a burglary, the chimney was not the way into the historic southwestern Louisiana bank.

"There was no wide-open fireplace at the bottom," The Advertiser quoted Hardy as saying. "It wasn't like a wood-burning fireplace - there was no opening, no large space at the bottom. It wasn't a traditional fireplace - maybe more like something that would burn coal."

And the chimney didn't even open to the bank's main floor, but rather office space on the second floor that had been used for storage for many years, Hardy told CNN.

And how could Schexnider have been missing for nearly three decades in the main branch of a bank which sits right on the main square in the town of 25,000 people?

"His family said he had a history of leaving ... and spending a lot of time away from Abbeville. In fact at one time, he joined the circus and traveled around with them until they left the country," Hardy told KATC.

Relatives are planning a funeral when remains are returned from the LSU lab, police told KATC. In the meantime, they were not commenting.

"His mother is upset that she lost a son, of course, but she is at ease that she now knows where her son is," KATC quotes Hardy as saying.

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Filed under: Crime • Louisiana
soundoff (410 Responses)
  1. two

    only those who are stupid (or stay stupid things) feel the need to flaunt their degrees, because what they say doesn't point out the level of their intelligence.

    July 27, 2011 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • speaking of degrees

      I once took a dump in the bathroom next to the building inspectors classes in Jr. College. While siting on the pot I saw this tiny writing at the bottom of the stall door. I leaned closer to read it. It said, "you are now $h^tiN% at an 83 degree angle!"

      July 27, 2011 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
  2. The Dude

    Always do your research before a job.

    July 27, 2011 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Catjet

    Does he look like Obama to you?

    July 27, 2011 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Duce


      July 27, 2011 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Leslie

      Yes, he does, as a matter of fact. Creepy.

      July 27, 2011 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Oodoodanoo

    This is the guy from the Twisted Sister videos. I bet he was fleeing from them and got stuck in the chimney.

    Dee Snider got some 'splainin' to do.

    July 27, 2011 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Keith

    Can anybody say Louisiana..... makes sense to me

    July 27, 2011 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
  6. gy1950

    i'm guessing this guy will be the undefeated louisiana "hide and go seek" champion.

    July 27, 2011 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • rockta

      That is funny as hell....thanx for that laugh

      July 27, 2011 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Obamalito

    Thanks for the chuckle (^_^)

    July 27, 2011 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
  8. 2bits

    Another mystery of the universe. It's not likely anyone knows a hoot about what happened and why and never will.

    July 27, 2011 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
  9. usa401

    "What remains a mystery is why Schexnider was in the chimney."
    –He was found in a chimney of a Bank! What else do you think he was doing there!

    July 27, 2011 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Steve

    The guy was charged with GTA and they can't figure out why he was in the chimney of a bank?

    Folks, if you want to commit a crime, may I suggest Abbeville, LA? The cops there seem to have a little trouble connecting dots.

    July 27, 2011 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Steve

    Probably hiding from the police and got stuck, would be my guess.

    July 27, 2011 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
  12. derrill

    I don't know but I find this whole thing so sad

    July 27, 2011 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Klaark

    That's a pretty terrible way to die. Hopefully some of the jokesters suffer it.

    July 27, 2011 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
  14. DHarri

    Curiosity must have gotten the best of him in seeing if he could even fit in the chimney he may have just fell far enough got stuck. With the location and possibly the dept of the chimney and the fact that it was adjacent to an old storage area who knows if he could have been heard crying out for help. At the end of the day he was somewhere that he shouldn't have been in the first place, not a good way to die.

    July 27, 2011 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Xerxes 2011

    Casey Anthony did it, see he too drowned in a pool and put in a bag, stuffed up chimney!

    July 27, 2011 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
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