Twinsburg police hope new DNA helps ID murdered man


Victim likely moved to Twinsburg to work at Chrysler Stamping Plant

Data pix.

TWINSBURG, Ohio (WJW)-- Twinsburg police are hoping new DNA evidence will finally help them identify a man who was found murdered off Cannon Road 38 years ago to the day Tuesday.

The remains were found by an employee of a business that used to be located there, but has since been torn down.

“He just happened to see a skull lying there and called the police. That’s when they found the rest of his body in garbage bags,” said Twinsburg Police Det. Eric Hendershott.

Investigators estimated the man had died two to four years earlier, and found evidence of a horrific death.

“Stabbed, possible blunt force trauma too. And that he was likely burned after he was deceased,” Hendershott said.

Investigators tried to identify the victim, but were unable to back in 1982 and the case went cold.

Over the years, a sketch of what the victim may have looked like was made and not long ago the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigations used a 3D printer to help complete forensic clay sculpture. 

Then this past year, Det. Hendershott reached out to the DNA Doe Project, a non-profit organization of volunteers who’ve become the go-to group for law enforcement trying to identify victims from cold cases.

Addintional DNA was extracted from the bones and sent to the DNA Doe Project. Now, months later, Hendershott said they have a much clearer profile of the victim. After the DNA was run through two databases permitted for use by law enforcement and with the donor's permission, they got a significant hit.

“Many of his DNA matches are coming back to Laurens County, S.C. and it looks like both parents are from Laurens County,” Hendershott said.

Laurens County, South Carolina is 600 miles from Twinsburg, but most likely where the victim is from.

Investigators said they think he probably moved north to work at the Chrysler Stamping Plant, which is now closed, but was booming back in 1982.

“Thats why a lot of people were in Twinsburg back then,” Hendershott said.

The man was also African American, estimated to be 20 to 35 years of age, 5 foot 3 to 5 foot 7 in height and suffered from Kyphosis, a forward curvature of the spine. All of the evidence and information has already also been shared with law enforcement in South Carolina.

Hendershott said he hopes it will help them finally ID the victim, bring his family closure and perhaps even help them finally find his killer.

“If we at least can give him a name, that will be the start of the investigation,” Hendershott said.

Anyone with information about the victim is asked to contact Det. Eric Hendershott at the Twinsburg Police Department at 330-405-5679.

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