DNA analysis identifies remains found in Lincoln County in 2006

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The new analysis led the sheriff’s department to reopen an investigation into a 1984 murder.

LINCOLN COUNTY, Mo. — A new partnership helped the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office identify human remains found in 2006 and lead them to reopen an investigation into an unrelated 1984 murder.

In a press release, the sheriff’s office said it worked with Jennifer Bengtson from the Southeast Missouri State University Anthropology Program to identify the remains through DNA analysis. With new technologies available, the department now wants to investigate a murder over 30 years old.

The sheriff’s office was approached by Bengtson in 2021, and she said she was confident she could help identify the human remains. With the help of his students and the genome sequencing company Othram, Bengtson was able to “provide investigators with information pointing them on the path to an accurate identification,” according to the press release.

The skeletal human remains found in March 2006 were in Cuirve River State Park near the KK highway. The coroner said the cause of death remains unknown due to the condition of the remains when they were discovered, but there appeared to be no signs of foul play.

The remains were returned to the family for burial. The family has asked that no further details be released.

The press release says Bengtson has agreed to help with another case, the 1984 murder of a man in rural Lincoln County. Police say the man was found shot in the back of the neck inside a pumphouse near Highway F.

The press release states that the victim was “exceptionally well dressed in expensive clothing, including a gray Bill Blass suit with red pinstripes and a black Bill Blass cashmere pea coat.”

Anyone with information about the 1984 murder is asked to call Lt. Tippett at (636) 462-6470.

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