May 29, 1976
Danny Kwiatkowski, 24; Elaine Kwiatkowski, 20; Danny Poirier, 26; and Jana Coonan, 16, leave Worcester for a day of fishing off the coast of Plymouth in Danny Kwiatkowski’s boat.
May 30, 1976
The crew of a fishing vessel spots the capsized boat 6 miles off the coast of Marshfield. The occupants are missing.
Aug. 13, 1976
The Coast Guard tells Senator Edward M. Kennedy, whose office was helping the families, that the agency believes the boat had mechanical trouble and capsized when the boaters tried to fix the problem.
Aug. 23, 1976
In Monson, just east of Springfield, a backbone and a jawbone were recovered from a gravel pit. The remains were shipped to a state crime lab.
Oct. 25, 1976
A fishing trawler pulls up a leg in a boot. In the boot is Danny Kwiatkowski’s wallet. An hour later, another fishing boat recovers a skull covered in mud. It cannot be identified.
Aug. 8, 1978
After concluding their investigation, state lab officials are told to dispose of the remains. A state crime lab employee shipped them to a person who went by the pseudonym “Veritas.”
Oct. 29, 2012
The Globe receives a package from Veritas; it contains the skull, the backbone, and the jawbone. The newspaper turns over the box to the police, who reopen the investigation and take DNA samples from relatives of the missing boaters trying to identify the skull.
The bones that appear to be much older are sent to the medical examiner, who turns them over to the state archeologist. She determines they belonged to two Native Americans, and dates them at 400 to 500 years old.
State Police notify Michael Coonan that his DNA matched the DNA taken from the skull, indicating that the remains were those of his sister, Jana.