Kentucky State Police say they have identified a victim in an unsolved homicide case from more than three decades ago after obtaining a DNA sample from the victim’s son.
In a news release Monday, police identified the body recovered along a roadside in rural Owen County as Linda Bennett of Ohio.
Police say a couple from Owenton spotted an unresponsive woman while on a walk in 1988. Detectives determined her death was a homicide but were not able to identify her, despite fingerprint comparisons and forensic facial reconstructions.
Bennett’s family reported her missing in June 1988 to authorities in Columbus, Ohio, where she was last known to live. Bennett’s family lived in a different state and had limited contact with her, police said.
Police say new information this year led them to Bennett’s son, who provided a DNA sample that confirmed his mother’s identity.
The Kentucky State Police Forensic Lab partnered with Othram Inc. on the DNA testing. The Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) through the Kentucky attorney general’s office provided funding and the agency’s investigative team worked with state police.
“Advancements in technology and scientific testing have led to this new information. This could not have been done without the combined efforts of all those working on this case,” Kentucky State Police Post 5 Detective Paul Johnson said in a news release. “I express my heartfelt condolences to the family of Ms. Bennett and hope that knowing her whereabouts helps them to rest easier.”
The investigative team from SAKI worked closely with detectives providing research and data, police said.
“When you become part of a project such as SAKI, you do so hoping to get some measure of closure or justice for people who have been waiting for so long, in this case, decades,” said KSP SAKI Detective Janet Barnett.
No suspects have been identified in the case, CBS affiliate WBNS-TV reported. Anyone with information about a criminal case is urged to contact their local Kentucky State Police Post or dial the tip line at 1-800-222-5555.
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