(CNN) — Partial human remains found in a garbage bag nearly 40 years ago have been identified as belonging to Frank “Frankie” Little Jr, a member of the R&B band The O’Jays, according to police.
The Twinsburg Police Department in Ohio gave the news on Tuesday, at iReport that family members’ DNA was used to help identify remains found on February 18, 1982. Police added that not much is known about Little’s disappearance and death.
Little grew up in Cleveland, according to the press release. In the mid-1960s, he was a guitarist and songwriter for the legendary R&B band The O’Jays. The band released a statement to CNN saying that he was part of the band in the early days and that they had not heard from him since.
“He came with us when we ventured out of Cleveland and traveled to Los Angeles, but he also had a crush on a woman in Cleveland who he missed so much that he soon returned to Cleveland after a short stint,” the statement reads.
They “wish their family and friends the closure of what appears to be a very sad story,” the statement said.
Little also served two years in the US military, which included a deployment during the Vietnam War, according to the press release. He had a daughter who passed away in 2012, according to the press release, and he has a son who has not yet been located or identified.
Discovery of the remains in a bag
The partial remains were found in a garbage bag behind a now-closed business in Twinsburg, according to police. A business worker discovered a skull in the snow, according to WEWS, a CNN affiliate, and then police discovered the bag.
The bones are believed to be a couple of years old and showed signs of blunt trauma, according to WEWS. The police ruled that the manner of death was a homicide. It was also observed that the remains belonged to a black man, 20 to 35 years old, approximately 1.67 meters tall, and who may have had adolescent kyphosis, a curvature of the spine.
But the identity remained a mystery for nearly 40 years, until a collaboration began with the DNA Doe project in October. The organization provided the names of potential relatives, who gave police Little’s name and a DNA sample.
That sample was analyzed by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s Crime Lab, and Little’s identity was later confirmed by Summit County Dr. Lisa Kohler.
“It’s definitely good that we can give the family some answers and I hope they have some sense of closure,” Twinsburg Detective Eric Hendershott told WEWS. “He had a life, and he finally ended up here in Twinsburg, his life taken away by someone else.”
Little is believed to have been last known to be alive in the mid-1970s, according to police, and he was residing in Cleveland, about 23 miles from where the remains were discovered.
Police are continuing to investigate the case to determine what happened to Little. His remains will be released to family members for a proper burial.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism