DNA identifies boy found dead on California street in 1978

A teenage boy found dead on a Southern California street 44 years ago has been identified as the fugitive who was never reported missing, police said.

The body was discovered on June 3, 1978, in a residential neighborhood of Long Beach, the Long Beach Police Department said in a statement Wednesday. Investigators were unable to identify the teen and he was dubbed “John Doe 1978”. Eventually the murder case went cold.

Police said recent advances in DNA technology allowed authorities to finally identify the boy as Kenneth Nevada Williams, who was 15 when he ran away from his home in La Puente, east of Los Angeles, in 1978 was.

The police statement read, “Williams was never reported missing. Homicide detectives were able to locate and contact Williams’ family members and later confirmed his identity.”

No cause of death was given.

Donald Alway, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s LA field office, said his agency and police have reopened the investigation into the teen’s death.

“Justice delayed should not be justice denied in this case. Kenneth Nevada Williams is now a known victim and identifying his killer is the next step in solving this case,” Alway said in a statement.

Hacienda La Puente Unified School District police provided school records showing Williams last attended Sierra Vista Middle School in 1977 and enrolled at Fairgrove Academy on October 18, 1977. His last school day was on October 27, 1977.

“Without the assistance of investigative genealogy, Kenneth Williams may never have been identified; however, his story is not yet over. The individuals responsible for his murder are still outstanding and those held accountable for their crimes need to be identified.” must be done so that Kenneth Williams and his family will receive the justice they have long deserved, said the Long Beach Police Department.

Anyone with information regarding the 1978 murder or the whereabouts of Williams from October 27, 1977 to June 3, 1978 is asked to contact the LBPD Homicide Detail, Missing Persons Section at (562) 570-7246.

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