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Man identified after his body was found in Troy, Missouri, 38 years ago

Forensic scientists built a profile of the homicide victim that helped link the body to a real estate agent that disappeared in 1982.

TROY, Mo. — There's some new information on an almost 40-year-old homicide cold case.

The remains of a person found in Troy, Missouri, in 1984 were linked to a man that disappeared in 1982, detectives announced Wednesday.

Jack Langeneckert of Florissant was the victim of a homicide, forensic scientists determined. A farmer found the remains inside a pumphouse near Highway F in rural Lincoln County on June 11, 1984.

The cause of death is believed to be the result of a gunshot wound to the back of the head.

Investigators said Langeneckert was well dressed in expensive clothing including a Bill Blass grey suit with red pinstripes and a Bill Blass black cashmere Pea Coat. He was wearing a white button-up shirt with a grey/blue tie tied in a Windsor knot.

Captain David Hill with Lincoln County Sheriff's Office Criminal Investigations said the man had no ID on him and with the decomposed body, it was hard to identify.

Hill said Langeneckert was a real estate agent working in St. Louis. His car was found at the St. Louis Airport a week after he was reported missing. 

"The last time he was seen was on the way to work," Hill added. "Based on the lab reports that he came back he probably died in 1982."

For 38 years, Lincoln County Sheriff's Office worked to figure out who the victim was. 

In 2015, Hill said the body was tested to get a DNA match but the technology wasn't ready.

It was eight years later they were able to make an identification.

Detectives teamed up with Southeast Missouri State University to solve the case. 

A group of anthropology students involving some juniors and seniors, along with professor Jennifer Bengtson, assisted with the case.

The team already solved an unrelated 2006 cold case in Lincoln County and Bengtson reached out saying she could help with this mysterious cold case too.

The students and Bengtson have already helped solve five cases in the state.

The group used non-destructive testing to build a genealogical profile. This new information helped detectives match familial DNA to the victim.

"My advanced students volunteered their time to do new anthropological analyses and forensic testing recommendations and with law enforcement approval, implement those testing plans and gave useful information to investigators," Bengtson said. "Even though my lab is small, I'm proud of my students for helping to bring answers to a few families."

The group sent data to Othram labs and found a match.

"Once we got the DNA, we had three possible relatives and investigators took three DNA samples," Hill said.

Detectives were able to get the identification and brought some answers to Langeneckert's family.

"He was 50 years old at the time he went missing. He was a father, uncle, a husband," Hill noted. "His wife at the time, she was very emotional," Hill added. 

Hill also said they broke the news to his son. Langeneckert's loved ones said, this brought some closure.

The suspect and motive for his death remain unknown. Anyone with information is asked to call the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office at 636-528-8546. Anonymous tips can be submitted at https://lcsomo.gov/ or email Detective Alyssa Erson at aerson@lcsomo.gov.


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