WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- The family of missing Pelham grad and world traveler Harry Devert continues to await results of DNA tests done on remains found near his motorcycle in Mexico Sunday, July 13, despite published reports they have been positively identified.
Jackie Burrell, spokeswoman for the Devert family, said Harry's mother, Ann Devert of New Rochelle, who is currently in Mexico cooperating with authorities, has advised the family "not to listen to reports. Testing is being done."
Family attorney Darren Delsardo said the source of the published confirmations by media outlets, including the Associated Press, is unknown.
"No individual from the Mexican government has advised the family of any confirmation," he said in an e-mail. "We have been advised that it takes up to two months to do DNA tests in Mexico. We are trying to have tests performed in the United States to expedite the process."
Devert, 32, went missing 174 days ago on Jan. 25 while traveling in Mexico by motorcycle on his way to Brazil for the World Cup. Mexican authorities found remains in two plastic bags near a motorcycle with an identification number matching that of Devert on July 13.
Information had been circulating in news stories from Mexican media outlets linking Devert's disappearance to drug cartel activity.
Because the remains appear to have been disinterred in some way, they must be sterilized to successfully carry out the DNA test -- which could take several days, according to the family's attorney, Darren Delsardo.
Even in the months after his disappearance, Devert's family and friends have held on to hope that he could be alive.
In 2013 alone, 81 American citizens were reported to the State Department as murder victims.