Today the Bibb County Community said a final goodbye to Daniel Paul “Danny” Armantrout, the formerly unidentified teenage traveler from 1961 who died in an automobile accident near River Bend in Bibb County Alabama. For over sixty years the residents of Bibb County were unable to identify the teenager and he became the oldest unidentified person on the missing persons registry in the U.S. until the case was solved in late 2021 by ancient DNA researchers and forensic geneaologists.
Since his burial in 1961 at the Centreville Memorial Cemetery the formerly unknown boy has laid under a headstone with no name inscribed. After the tireless work of researchers we now know that he is Danny Armantrout, born December 28, 1945, who was 15 years old when he died on March 27, 1961. We also now know that he had a brace on his leg because of polio and that may have prevented him from escaping from the automobile that was sinking to the bottom of the Cahaba River after a plunge from a river bridge.
Centreville Mayor Mike Oakley presided over the ceremony today at the Centreville Cemetery and presented Donald Hamilton, Danny’s older brother and his spouse, with a key to the City of Centreville. Donald left home in 1960 to join the Army and that was the last time he saw Danny. When he came home on leave in 1961 Danny was gone.
Reverend Steve Vernon delivered a brief message. His father George Vernon was one of three local pastors who presided over the original funeral for Danny in 1961. Another Vernon brother worked at the Jack Lee funeral home in 1961 when Danny’s body was picked up and prepared. The body laid in state for over 3 weeks expecting that somebody would show up to claim the body before a burial took place.
The Bibb County Board of Education presented Donald Hamilton an Honorary Graduation Diploma for Danny Armantrout. The Diploma, making Danny a graduate of Bibb County High School was presented by Superintendent Duane McGee and Principal Jay Alston.
Bibb County Coroner C.W. West unveiled a permanent marker identifying Daniel Paul Armantrout as of October 30, 2021 and placing it permanently at his grave site.