A DNA test has finally solved a 30-year mystery involving a missing teenager Michael Perdue.

When 17-year-old Michael Perdue vanished in the United States on May 4, 1985, police officers feared he may have drowned. He was suspected of being involved in firebombing a gas station in Covington, Virginia and had been fleeing the scene.

When human remains were discovered on the banks of the Jackson River by two fishermen 10 months after Michael’s disappearance, many people were convinced the teenager had been found. But tests were unable to confirm the identity of the remains so they were put into storage for 30 years, referred to officially as belonging to “John Covington Doe”.

Now a Y chromosome DNA test has proved once and for all that the remains discovered on March 2, 1986, belonged to Michael. A sample taken from the discovered bones was compared to Michael’s brother Wally Perdue, who was living in Michigan.

Y chromosome is passed down the paternal line

Y chromosome testing looks at specifically at the Y chromosome, which is inherited unchanged along the paternal line. This means that two men who are biologically related through their father will have the same Y chromosome.

The test, which is offered by AlphaBiolabs, cannot show what relationship the two men have but it can prove they are from the same paternal family line. As the remains was found to share a Y chromosome with Michael’s brother, Wally, police were able to finally close the missing person case and return his remains to his family for burial.

Wally Perdue told a press conference: “’A brother’s love never dies. I feel that his spirit is still walking this earth. And now that we’re laying him to rest, he can go home with the rest of his family.”

Michael will now be buried in Ann Arbor, Michingan.

A statement from the sheriff’s office said it was believed Michael had been with a friend when the petrol station was firebombed and had tried to swim across the Jackson river to escape before getting into difficulties and drowning.