Missing man's family waits for answers to skeletal remains

LAWTON-- They are holding out hope, but bracing for the worst.  The family of a missing Indiahoma man is waiting on authorities to positively identify skeletal remains found near Indiahoma last week. They believe they may belong to Gene Hartman.  He went missing in June 2006 when he walked away from his home.  His family hasn't seen him since and has been worried about him because he left without his seizure medication and he's mentally disabled.

Shirley Hartman is Gene's younger sister.  She's been active in the search for her brother ever since he went missing.  Shirley waits anxiously to hear the news from authorities.  She said as soon as the skeletal remains were found, authorities advised her of the possibility that it might be her brother.  "It might not be him. We could just hope that it isn't. My parents, they are taking it hard," Hartman said.

John Parker was hiking in some woods southeast of Indiahoma last week when he spotted what appeared to be human remains.  He automatically thought of Gene because there were also black shoes, which he was last seen wearing.

It's been 16 long months for the family and now they wait a little longer to learn of their loved one's fate.  "I felt like throwing up when they said it could be him. Everybody, a lot of people out that way are saying it's him, but I'm just hoping that it's not. They just say it's him because of the black shoes," Hartman said.

Shirley doesn't want to believe that it could be her brother, but admits it could bring some closure.  "It's been hard. Very hard." Shirley says there was a sighting of her brother about 3 months ago, a time period that just doesn't add up with how long it would take for a body to decompose and turn into skeletal remains. Based on that, she believes there's still a small chance that her brother is still out there somewhere.

Hartman says the family could learn as soon as Monday if indeed the remains are Gene's.