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Discovery Provides Hope In Other Local Missing Person Case

Family, friends and members of the Jamestown community are pictured in January 2022 during a candlelight vigil for Kevin Hornburg. P-J file photo

There was a moment this past week, however fleeting, that Susan Baldwin believed closure was near.

Human remains had been found in Jamestown, and police inquired with the family of Kevin Hornburg regarding the placement of a tattoo that could have helped with identification.

It was evident rather quickly, though, that the body discovered behind an East Second Street building Monday was not Hornburg — now missing for almost a year.

“We were all kind of hopeful,” said Baldwin, Hornburg’s sister, after learning that remains had been found, and not too far from Hornburg’s home on Prendergast Avenue. “I’m sure that the people who were looking for that man were relieved that he was found.”

On Wednesday, the Jamestown Police Department identified the remains as being Clarence Kelwaski, a 51-year-old city man reported missing in August after he checked himself out of a drug treatment facility in Saratoga Springs. Police are unsure how Kelwaski made it back to Jamestown.

Baldwin hopes her family will receive similar closure, however painful.

“We would just like to find him, you know?” she told The Post-Journal. “We’re not hoping anymore that he’s alive. We just are hoping we can find him.”

Hornburg, who would be 58 years old right now, has not been seen since he left his 629 Prendergast Ave. residence around 4 p.m. Nov. 21, 2021. His disappearance resulted in numerous searches organized by the Jamestown-based WNY Missing & Unidentified Persons group.

Baldwin, a South Dayton resident, believes her brother’s disappearance may be tied to a stabbing incident that occurred 10 days before he was last seen. A man suffered a stab wound to the chest in front of Hornburg’s home, and Baldwin feels there might somehow be a connection.

In January of this year, Jamestown police said foul play may have had a role, describing the investigation as a “suspicious missing person case.”

“We know there are several people who likely know what happened to Hornburg,” Capt. Robert Samuelson said earlier this year. “We need them to assist us with tips so that we can bring Hornburg home to his family.”

On Friday, Samuelson reiterated that police were still looking for people who “may have information on what happened with Kevin.” He said investigators have followed “dozens of leads over the last year” that indicate Hornburg was the victim of a crime prior to being reported missing.

“We are looking to recover his remains so that his family can have the closure that they deserve,” Samuelson said Friday. “I am confident that more than one person in our community knows what happened to Kevin and where his remains are. I am asking that person to come forward and assist us in bringing Kevin home to his family.”

Baldwin estimates she has taken part in at least 20 searches for her brother.

“We do continue scouting around and have had searches looking for Kevin,” she said. “There’s an awful lot of very, very kind people in Jamestown. It’s not all bad.”

Another of Baldwin’s brothers, Daniel Hornburg, died unexpectedly July 27. She said the family, already grieving with the loss of Daniel, was further reminded of Kevin’s disappearance when writing the obituary.

‘SHE’S AN ANGEL’

Baldwin praised the efforts of Merry Williams, who started the WNY Missing & Unidentified Persons page on Facebook. Williams frequently shares news of missing persons and updates on open cases.

“She’s an angel,” Baldwin said of Williams. “She has been so helpful and so kind. … She’s a very, very, very good lady.”

Williams is organizing a candlelight vigil to be held at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 22, on Prendergast Avenue. The date marks the one-year anniversary of when Hornburg went missing.

“Please join us in rallying around the family of Kevin Hornburg and show them some true WNY community support alongside continuing to get his name and story heard and seen far and wide,” Williams said. “Please feel free to wear your favorite Carhartt in the name of Kevin. We will be gathering on the public sidewalk in front of the house Kevin was last seen on the 600 block of Prendergast Ave.”

Hornburg is described as being 5 feet, 8 inches tall and weighing about 150 pounds. He has a tattoo of a cross on his forearm and another tattoo between his pointer finger and thumb.

Crime Stoppers of Western New York — Crimestopperswny.org — previously offered a reward up to $2,500 for information leading to the arrest or indictment of those responsible “for the disappearance and/or homicide of Kevin Hornburg,” the organization said.

Anyone with information on Hornburg is asked to contact the Jamestown Police Department at 716-483-7537. Anonymous tips also can be left at 716 483-Tips (8477).

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