Inside the nondescript cardboard box were a skull and other skeletal human remains, along with a plea and a clue. The plea was from the anonymous sender: Find out whose bones these are. The clue was about where to start, with four young people who vanished at sea in 1976, four whose families never gave up the dream of their return.
Danny Kwiatkowski, Elaine Kwiatkowski, Danny Poirier, and Jana Coonan went out for a day of fishing and disappeared.
John Tlumacki/Globe Staff/File
The arrival at The Boston Globe of a package containing skeletal remains launched investigations into the 1976 mystery.
John Tlumacki/Globe staff/1982
Medical examiner Dr. George Katsas had very little to work with and sent two sets of remains to the old State Police crime lab on Commonwealth Avenue.
Eventually, the remains were to be disposed of due to limited space, a policy with which state toxicologist John McHugh was uncomfortable.
John Tlumacki/Globe Staff/File 2012
McHugh's son suspects his father may have found a friend willing to store remains privately.
Darren Durlach/Globe staff
Using genetic material from Michael Coonan, authorities identified the skull as that of his sister Jana and closed the case.
Darren Durlach/globe staff
Marge Habib, sister of Elaine and Danny Kwiatkowski, still doesn't know what happened to her siblings that day.