Skeleton is Tony Bourquin

Wednesday, April 14, 2004
Tony Bourquin

Human skeletal remains found March 16 just outside Eureka Springs city limits have been identified as those of a Huntsville man reported missing from a local motel last August, according to Sheriff Chuck Medford.

The Arkansas crime lab medical examiner reported to Medford and Eureka Springs Police Chief Earl Hyatt last Friday that dental records sent to the lab in Little Rock identified the remains as Anthony James Bourquin, 39.

Medford said the focus of the investigation now shifts primarily to the cause of the man's death, which is being investigated by the sheriff's office and Eureka Springs police, as well as several other law enforcement agencies.

Police Chief Earl Hyatt said Monday that the case is now cleared as a missing person case in Eureka Springs, but his agency "is actively assisting" the sheriff's office in the "unattended death" case, since the remains were found near Black Bass Lake, just outside Eureka city limits.

At this time, Medford said, the medical examiner's report on the cause and manner of death is listed as "pending."

Medford said no other information on the investigation will be released at this time.

Since Bourquin's disappearance, authorities have refused to speculate on the focus of the investigation.

According to a Eureka Springs police report on August 20, 2003, Joseph Martin Cash, 33, who lived with Bourquin in the Huntsville area in Madison County, told officer Chris Wages that he and Bourquin came to Eureka Springs on August 18 and checked into the Swiss Village Inn.

Initially, Cash told Wages that his name was Joseph Fiore, but he was later identified as Joseph Martin Cash.

Chief Hyatt said Monday that he did not know why Cash initially said his last name was Fiore.

Cash told Officer Wages that he and the missing man were going to have dinner together, and had been domestic partners for several years.

Cash said that Bourquin had told him he was going out for a walk and to buy a pack of cigarettes. Cash said Bourquin took a credit card and the keys to a vehicle that belonged to both men and left, and did not return that night.

Cash said he looked for Bourquin but couldn't find him, and when he was still missing August 19, he checked out of the motel.

He told the officer that Bourquin had AIDS, and was also diagnosed with dementia. Cash stated Bourquin had left the inn without his medications.

In a follow-up investigation, Eureka Springs Detective Morris Pate contacted Bourquin's family members in Arizona and corroborated some of the information, but there were some discrepancies in the times of the incident as reported by Cash.

Pate was told by a relative of Bourquin's that the men had "a troubled past," the report says.

The missing person's report says Wages interviewed a Swiss Village Inn housekeeper who reported that after Cash checked out, she found "trash all over the room," that the bed and television stand were pulled away from the walls and there were footprints on the wall of the bathroom.

She also said she found a small amount of blood on the bathroom floor, but thought nothing of it and cleaned it up.

Pate inspected the room after the housekeeper had cleaned it, and the trash, but found nothing unusual. He reported that the trash contained some McDonald's restaurant bags and a few beer cans.

At the time of his disappearance, the report says, Bourquin was "very sick" with AIDS, according to Pate's interview with Bourquin's sister.

She also said Bourquin was a heavy drug user, and that the men had had problems with domestic violence in the past.

Pate issued a missing person's bulletin, and the search for Bourquin was unsuccessful.

A reward was offered by the family for any information about Bourquin's disappearance.

Medford said anyone with any information on the case is urged to call his office at (479) 253-5000, or (870) 423-2801, or Eureka Springs police, at (479) 253-8666

The identification of the remains was aided by Bourquin's family in Chicago and Dalton, Ga., and the investigation includes police agencies in Stone, Newton and Barry counties in Missouri, the state police in Missouri, and Berryville, Fayetteville, Green Forest police departments and Arkansas State Police, Medford said.

The remains were found by hikers in a wooded area south of Black Bass Lake, which is south of and below Highway 62 in Eureka Springs.

The area was blockaded for two days as the investigation proceeded.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: