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DNA analysis by SEMO professor, students identifies remains found in Lincoln County in 2006

The new analysis has led the sheriff's department to reopen an investigation into a 1984 murder.
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DNA molecule

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

In a press release, the sheriff's office said they worked with Jennifer Bengtson of the anthropology program of Southeast Missouri State University to identify the remains through DNA analysis. With new technology available, the department now wants to look into a 30-plus-year-old murder.

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

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

The remains were released to the family for burial. The family asked for no other details to be released.

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

The press release said the victim was "exceptionally well dressed in expensive clothing including a Bill Blass grey suit with red pinstripes and a Bill Blass black cashmere Pea Coat."

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

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