The body of 24-year-old Robert Kovack (below) who's been missing for almost two decades was finally unearthed under the New River Gorge Bridge in West Virginia.
The Virginia Tech grad-student disappeared September 18, 1998, allegedly en route from his campus to a Maryland University football game.
Despite an intensive search for him, only Kovack's abandoned vehicle was ever recovered.
Last Thursday, though, a construction crew beginning initial repairs of the New River Gorge span discovered skeletal remains and other personal effects -- including a college ID -- hidden in an area of dense foliage near one of its pilings.
ABC News is reporting that the bones were transported to the Smithsonian Institute for positive identification and possible autopsy, but a member of the Kovack family already expressed his belief that they're those of his long lost relative.
“We may never know what happened,” the decedent's older brother also acknowledged to the Associated Press, but "I find it highly unlikely he just gave up and jumped.”
No one does know for certain yet if Kovack leaped, fell or was thrown to his death, but the bridge that appears to have claimed his life has a perilous 875-foot drop from its highest point, making it the third tallest in America and a worldwide attraction.
In fact, West Virginia officials revealed this week that dozens of people have fatally plummeted from the New River Gorge Bridge during the 18 years that Robert Kovack had been gone without a trace.
Some met an end there intentionally, they said, either while engaged in recreational 'BASE' jumping or by committing suicide, and other victims fell by accident.
Search and rescue teams in 1998 had discovered Kovack's car parked, locked and out of gas in close proximity to the infamous structure, but never came across any other proof that the missing college student had himself died.
The investigation into the young man's missing persons case was also obstructed somewhat when his roommates at Virginia Tech hastily packed up all his belongings before police had a chance to examine these items for evidence of a crime...