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Kentucky State Police hope DNA will solve 1989 cold case

Posted at 7:26 AM, Mar 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-03 07:26:00-05

GRANT COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — At home DNA tests that have exploded in popularity in recent years could be the key to solving a more than 30 year cold case in Grant County.

In 1989, a man was found in a tobacco barn with two gunshot wounds to the back of his head and his hands cut off, according to Kentucky State Police. That man has never been identified and was buried in an unmarked grave in Dry Ridge.

But in 2017, the body was exhumed to collect DNA. Now Kentucky State Police hope a partnership with the DNA Doe Project will reveal the identity of the man.

"There’s some family somewhere, they’re wondering where their uncle, their son, their brother, where they’re at and they deserve to have that peace of mind," said Kentucky State Police Trooper Corey Elliott.

The DNA Doe Project creates a DNA profile of a victim that can be compared to other DNA profiles on databases like GEDmatch.com and FamilyTreeDNA.com, according to Case Manager Kevin Lord.

People who use home DNA tests have the option to share their own DNA profiles on the sites, he said, which helps investigators build a family tree for unidentified victims.

"The more people in that database, the more likely we actually are to get a match back that is helpful to us," Lord said.

A DNA profile for the Grant County "John Doe" is being created now, Lord said.

Identifying the man found in the barn more than 30 years ago is the first step to solving the crime, Elliott said.

"It’s a new territory for us and for our detective who’s investigating this so we’re just going to wait and see," he said.