Texas company key to identifying Benton County cold case victims
, 2022-11-01 06:08:53,
BENTONVILLE — Forensic genetic genealogy used by a Texas company has helped law enforcement in cold cases across the country, including three in Benton County.
A trio of murder victims in cold cases investigated by the Benton County Sheriff’s Office were identified, officials announced Oct. 25. Investigators had tried unsuccessfully to determine the victims’ identities for years.
Lt. Hunter Petray, who is assigned to the criminal investigation division of the Sheriff’s Office, decided to try genetic genealogy to identify the victims.
Othram Inc. identified them as Fred James “Jamie” Grow, Donna Sue Nelton and John Douglas Rollins Jr. They previously had been known only as John Doe, Bone Woman and Lake Man, respectively.
The remains of all three are at the Medical Examiner’s Office in Little Rock. Authorities are working to get death certificates issued and the remains released back to the families for proper burials or cremations, according to Lt. Shannon Jenkins, spokeswoman for the Sheriff’s Office.
Mike Sydoriak, who retired as a captain with the Sheriff’s Office in 2012, believes the three cases would have been solved decades ago if forensic genealogy had been available back then.
Sydoriak said the Sheriff’s Office had only three investigators in the ’80s and early ’90s.
“I personally knew the investigators that worked those cases and they worked many hours on them, but without knowing who the victims were it made it very difficult,” he said.
Othram testing pays off
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