MANCHESTER-The search for a missing vietnam Veteran William Schmidbauer came to an end this week after authorities found skeletal remains in the wooded area in Manchester.
Schmidbauer, who has been missing since 2007 was a veteran who suffered from depression and post-traumatic stress symptoms as a result of his experiences serving in Vietnam.
He retired from the U.S. Army after a 20 year career and served in the 11th Armored Cavalry Black Horse Regiment in Vietnam where he earned a Purple Heart.
Manchester Police Report
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.
Missing since 2007
Schmidbauer was last seen on September 23, 2007 at the Cedar Glen West Development, a community for seniors in Manchester, New Jersey. His wife of 41 years went to bed at 11:30 p.m. and he kissed her goodnight. The couple slept in separate rooms.
At 5:30 a.m. the next day, his wife Jean heard Schmidbauer get up, but she stayed in bed. When she woke up between 9:30 and 10:00 a.m., Schmidbauer’s newspaper was on the kitchen table like always, but he was gone.
His wife originally thought he had gone to talk to a neighbor, but the neighbor had not seen Schmidbauer at all that morning. He left behind his vehicle, keys, credit cards, medication, cash, cigarettes and veteran’s identification card. He may have been carrying his wallet and other identification, however.
Schmidbauer’s wife called the police at 4:00 p.m. Two days later, a motorist reported seeing him along along Route 70 between the intersection of Green Acres Road and Christ Lutheran Church, about three miles from his home. He has never been heard from again.
Schmidbauer was a career Army soldier and served with the 11th Armored Cavalry Black Horse Regiment in Vietnam, where he was wounded and earned a Purple Heart. He was stationed in many places throughout the country and was also stationed in Germany at one point. He retired in 1981.
At the time of his disappearance, he was very upset about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and concerned for the welfare of returning veterans, and he had started to skip his group therapy meetings. Just a few days before he vanished, he told a neighbor he wanted to “end it all.”
His wife told their daughter he had changed his medications and seemed agitated. She thought he may have become disoriented and wandered away from home.
Jean Schmidbauer passed away in 2014.