Maine State Police believe a body recovered from a shallow grave in Jefferson last week is that of a man who disappeared 12 years ago.

Maine State Police

According to Public Safety Department spokesman Steve McCausland, detectives suspect the skeletal remains are those of Charles “Chuck” Woodburn, who was 51 when he was last seen alive in 2002.

Acting on a tip, police found a body buried in the front yard of Woodburn's former home at 219 Neck Road in Jefferson.  Last Wednesday, a team of detectives located the grave site near a rock wall with the help of cadaver dogs from State Police and the Maine Warden Service, then excavated the  site.

At the time of his disappearance, Woodburn was married and living at the house with his wife, Diane Darling.  McCausland said Darling later married Robert Gaudette and she died in August 2010.  As far as police know, she never reported Woodburn missing.  A family member finally reported him missing to the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office in September 2010.

The State Medical Examiner’s Office reports the death was a homicide and that more work will take place to establish a positive identification.

The cause of death is not being released at this time and detectives are interviewing family and friends of Woodburn, attempting to retrace his whereabouts before he disappeared, McCausland said.