Autopsy results revealed to Donofrio family

James Donofrio
James Donofrio

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After nearly 15 months of waiting, the family of Jim Donofrio has no more answers now than they did the day the Valley businessman went missing.

The autopsy results for Donofrio were revealed Tuesday during a meeting with Youngstown police, Mahoning County prosecutors and the Donofrio family. The results were inconclusive and the cause and manner of death listed on the autopsy report are listed as “undetermined.”

“They have no leads, nothing to go on,” said Donofrio’s brother, Ron Donofrio. “They’re telling us if you find anything out, please let us know.”

The one-time owner of the Avalon Gardens disappeared in September 2011, prompting a massive search by family and friends. His body was eventually recovered about six months later along the Ohio River in West Virginia, a couple hours south of Youngstown.

Although an autopsy was performed, it took more than a year to identify the remains and then months more before the family could get any answers.

Jim Donofrio’s wife, Roseanne Donofrio, said she was told by police during the investigation that these types of cases take time but still questions why it took a year to identify her husband’s body after it was found six months after he went missing.

“There’s no indication they missed anything, but we still have the question as to why it took so long,” said Roseanne Donofrio. “None of it makes sense to us. It doesn’t make sense. We’ll never be done. You can’t be done.”

From the time Donofrio disappeared, there have been persistent rumors of financial trouble which then stirred speculation of what happened to him, but his family adamantly dismisses those theories.

“We know that Jim didn’t kill himself, and we know he didn’t walk away from his family,” said Donfrio’s sister Nancy Donofrio. “Those are things that your family knows.”

At the time Donofrio’s body was recovered in 2012, news media in the Steubenville area as well as in West Virginia put out a number of stories about the unidentified remains, but no one in this area, including police, the media or even Donofrio’s family, ever made the connection.

The family is asking the Greater Youngstown Crimestoppers organization to profile the case one last time hoping something new can come of it.

The autopsy report states Donofrio’s body was in a state of advanced decomposition with evidence of prolonged water immersion. It states that there is extensive fracture of his nasal bones, as well as fractures of several ribs and his left leg, but it is unknown how the injuries were obtained.

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