On Tuesday, May 15, 2018, members of the Manchester Township Police responded to a heavily wooded area off of Ridgeway Boulevard to investigate the report of possible human remains being found by an engineering crew. Upon arrival. Patrolman Jason Wiener met with the workers and learned that they had located, what they believed to be, a human skull in a heavily overgrown and swampy area along a bank of a stream commonly known as the Ridgeway Branch. As a result of their findings, members of the Manchester Police Department’s Investigation Bureau, along with detectives from both the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office and the Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigations Unit responded to the scene. Once at the site of the skull, investigators were able to confirm that it was, in fact, human. The scene was subsequently secured and a thorough investigation conducted. In doing so, investigators located additional human remains a short distance from where the skull was found. Based on the condition of the remains, it appeared that the bones had been exposed to the weather and environment for an extended period of time. The scene was documented and then excavated so as to uncover any additional remains and related evidence. During the excavation, investigators located personal effects just under the ground surface that aided in the identification of the remains; specifically a pocket knife, a wrist watch and a wallet containing several pieces of identification.
Based on the investigation and evidence located at the scene, the human remains were identified by the Ocean County Medical Examiner’s Office as that of William Schmidbauer. Mr. Schmidbauer was reported missing from his Robin Street home in Cedar Glen West by his wife on September 23, 2007. In the days, weeks, and months following Mr. Schmidbauer’s disappearance, officers and investigators from both the Manchester Township Police Department as well as other law enforcement agencies, conducted several extensive searches of the area surrounding Cedar Glen West. The investigators utilized resources from the local fire departments as well as trained search and rescue personnel, scuba divers and K-9 handlers to conduct extensive foot searches of the heavily wooded areas adjacent to the community. Investigators also utilized police quads, off-road vehicles, kayaks and thermal imaging cameras as well as tracking and cadaver dogs. Numerous neighborhood canvases were conducted and the local news media outlets were engaged in attempt to locate Mr. Schmidbauer, all to no avail. As recently as last year, investigators, with the assistance of cadaver dogs conducted another search of the areas surrounding Cedar Glen West with no success. At this time, it does not appear as though foul play was involved, however, the remains will be further examined by a NJSP Forensic Anthropologist.