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Local News

DNA Tests Reveal Fate of Teen Missing for 20 Years

Cengiz Han Nuray

For nearly 20 years, no one knew what happened to 17-year-old Cengiz Han Nuray of Santa Barbara.

The teen disappeared on April 27, 1995, reportedly while attending a concert at Greyhound Rock Beach in Santa Cruz County.

According to a missing-persons website, Nuray and a group of friends had been following the Grateful Dead rock band that spring. He reportedly went for a walk and left his belongings with friends on the beach, and was never seen again.

His mother filed a missing-persons report with the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department in June of that year, according to sheriff's spokeswoman Kelly Hoover, but authorities were unable to figure out what happened to Nuray.

"The teenager was considered a voluntary missing person and no foul play was suspected," Hoover told Noozhawk.

However, late last month, the mystery of Nuray's disappearance was solved after the Pacific Grove Police Department and the Monterey County Sheriff-Coroner's Office reopened the cold case of a "John Doe" body.

Newer, more-effective DNA tests revealed that badly decomposed human remains that were found in May 1995 floating near Asilomar State Beach in Monterey County — some eight miles from where Nuray was last seen — were those of the long-missing teen.

The DNA tests were conducted by the state Department of Justice laboratory, which was able to make a match in late December, according to a Pacific Grove police spokeswoman.

"We can imagine that this must have been extremely difficult for the family not to know for sure that their loved one had passed away all of these years," Hoover said. "At the very least, we are pleased that the missing person aspect of the case is closed and that the family can finally get some closure."

Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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