State police solve 1980 homicide using DNA, genealogy | News

, 2022-05-31 13:30:00,

WOLF CREEK TOWNSHIP – The case of a Chicago man whose body was found 42 years ago in Wolf Creek Township has been solved.

State police say they have closed the case after identifying the victim as Edwin Rodriguez of Chicago, according to a news release issued May 25 by the PSP Troop D Criminal Investigation Assessment Unit.

“The family was grateful that we were able to inform them what happened to their loved one and we were able to return his remains to Chicago for a proper service,” Trooper Joshua Black said, following up on the news release.

Using DNA testing and genealogy tools, they were able to confirm Rodriguez was the victim and identified Nestor Quintanal as the suspect in his death.

Quintanal died in Florida in 2002 at the age of 71. Homicide charges would have been filed otherwise, Mercer County District Attorney Peter Acker said.

The suspect would have been extradited to Mercer County and tried, hopefully ending with him being convicted and sentenced to state prison for life, Acker said.

Police began their investigation on Nov. 6, 1980, when someone found a burning body near Interstate 80 in Wolf Creek Township.

Autopsy results revealed that the deceased was a white male between the ages of 16 and 19 who weighed about 115 pounds and was 5 feet 8 inches tall.

Rodriguez had third-degree burns on 70 percent of his body and could not be identified at the time, police said.

Since then, advancements have been made in DNA technology, allowing law enforcement to submit evidence taken from the crime scene, Acker said.

His office paid for state police to have an advanced DNA analysis performed, eventually leading to the…

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