COBB COUNTY, Ga. – After nearly a month, the remains found in Kennesaw, Ga., have been positively identified as Iraq War veteran, Chase Massner’s.
His mom, Stephanie Cadena, told 11Alive the last three years have been an uphill battle in an effort to bring her son to peace.
“It's been an agonizing three-plus years to fight for Chase, he was recovered on Aug. 1--24 days ago and positively identified today! Now, we can begin to plan a proper funeral for Chase our son, husband and father! The next step is to prosecute the man being charged in this case!”
The Cobb County Medical Examiner’s Office completed positive identification of the human remains through dental record comparison and confirmed those findings Thursday afternoon.
“It has been determined that the remains are those of 26-year-old Chase Tyler Massner,” Cobb County Police Sgt. Dana Pierce said in a statement.
The final identification came three weeks after Cobb County Police found them at his friend, Brad Clement’s former Kennesaw, Ga., home.
Cadena was agitated that it was taking too long. She sent a statement to 11Alive Wednesday morning:
“Words cannot express my frustration that it's taken the United States Army three weeks to send my sons dental records and once they were received by the Cobb County Medical Examiner this morning I was told that it would take about an hour to compare the records, I patiently waited until shortly before 5 p.m., before calling again only to find out it could take another 24-48 hours to make a positive identification!”
Massner, a 26-year-old Iraq War veteran, went missing March 27, 2014. Cherokee County Sheriff's Office said in 2014, Massner was last seen at his friend, James Bradshaw "Brad" Clement’s house on Farmbrook Trail. He was reported missing by his wife and Cadena.
Over the years, his family held extensive searches, with hundreds of volunteers, in the area where he was last seen and professional search and rescue groups were called in, but no leads ever surfaced. Until now.
More than three years later, Cobb County Police recovered human remains when the current homeowners noticed something suspicious in their backyard.
Police said they believe the remains are Massner's—however, a positive identification has not yet been made by the medical examiner.
Meanwhile, Clement was charged with concealing a death.
Family friend, Christine Lemoine, of Marietta, Ga., said that was when his family thought they could start moving towards justice. But that was short-lived.
Clement told police that he would turn himself in, however, when he didn’t show up, the manhunt was on.
Lemoine, a spokeswoman for the family, said the new developments--finding remains, charging Clement—were a step in the right direction, and now, they have taken two steps back with Clement on the lam.
“It’s almost back to square one, if you think about it. Now, they have nothing,” she said. “From day one the understanding that everyone had, is that the last person to see Chase alive is Brad Clement.”
Massner's mother, Stephanie is on social media, Lemoine said, pleading with Clement, urging to do the right thing.
"This woman's not sleeping. She's lost her only son and she wants answers," Lemoine said. “If he is watching the news at any time, he needs to turn himself in.”
Chase’s mother takes to social media, pleading with Clement, urging to do the right thing.
“Yes it’s 3 a.m. and NO I’m not asleep! Brad Clement, for God’s sake, STOP! You spoke to me face to face and even hugged me! If you’re not guilty face us and show us the truth! You love your Mother and Chase Massner loved me! But Chase is no longer here to speak, you are! Please step up and do the right thing!!!”
Massner's family previously told 11Alive that he struggled with returning to civilian life.
He served a year in Iraq and returned in 2011. His wife, Amanda Massner said, in 2014, that her husband had been through some tough times since returning from his tour in the Middle East.
"Since he got back, he's had ups and downs with struggling with his mental stability," Amanda said in a 2014 interview.
Amanda said Chase had reached a low point late the week that he went missing, she said, and went away to visit his friend "to get some space."
"We've all been out for hours and hours with flashlights, just walking basically trying to see if we see him," Amanda said.
Chase was last seen wearing a red sweatshirt and khaki pants. He is 6'2" and weighs around 175 pounds. He has tattoos on his arm of a treasure chest, an angel and the name Massner. He has a chest tattoo of two roses on the right pectoral muscle.
"No matter what it is that he is going through right now, his family loves him, no matter what; and we are here for him, and we just want peace of mind that he is OK; and that he is safe. We want to help him, and we went to be with him, and we want to get through this together," Amanda said.
Chase was given an honorable discharge from the U.S. Army in December 2015.
On Saturday, Aug. 5, Cobb County Sheriff's Office has released a "Be on the lookout" flyer to the public.
“We just want Brad's face to get blasted out as far as it can so this manhunt can come to an end,” Lemoine said.
That search ended on a rainy night, on Aug. 10, after authorities acted on a tip that led them to the Toco Hills shopping center.
Clement was arrested at a shopping center on N. Druid Hills Road by the Cobb County Police Department's fugitive squad and U.S. Marshals, with DeKalb County Police on standby.
They arrested him facedown and handcuffed in the rain in the parking lot of the grocery store.
Clement is being held at the Cobb County Adult Detention Center without bond.
Additional autopsy findings are pending as the investigation continues.
Anyone with information which may assist Cobb County Police with this case is asked to call (770) 499-3945.
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