BUFFALO, N.Y. — Officials are looking through over 1,000 missing persons cases for leads in identifying human remains found in upstate New York.

Erie County Sheriff Tim Howard said Thursday they are assuming the remains are linked to a homicide. WGRZ-TV reports (http://on.wgrz.com/2rCfTyq ) the body found in North Collins on Sunday had clothing that indicated the person had died sometime in the past 40 years.

Howard says the remains are badly deteriorated, so DNA testing would be difficult. He says the most promising lead officials have are teeth excavated with the body.

Officials say they had to backtrack on an original assumption that the body was a large male person, saying the deteriorated bone structure doesn’t clearly indicate the body’s gender or race.

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