Marion sheriff identifies homicide victim from 1989
Marion County Sheriff's Office identifies Galion homicide victim from 1989, case reopened
Marion County Sheriff Matt Bayles announced on Tuesday that a 32-year-old cold case is being reopened after detectives were able to positively identify a homicide victim from 1989.
According to his family, Kraicinski, 33, of Galion, had a tendency to disappear from time to time as he once called them from Michigan asking for a ride back to the state. So when the family hadn't heard from him back in 1989, they assumed he was off living his life elsewhere and didn't tell anyone. This led to Kraicinski never being reported as missing.
However, 32 years later, the family is finally getting some answers to what happened to him
. The Marion County Sheriff's Office was able to identify Kraicinksi and connect him to a reported homicide that occurred in July 1989 in Flat Run Creek. And now, this three-decade old case is being reopened with the sheriff's office asking the community for any tips that might help them find a suspect.
Help us get justice for John," Marion County Sheriff Matt Bayles said.
Bayles said Kraicinski was found in Flat Run Creek in Marion County with the coroner reporting the death as a suffocation. Additionally, Bayles said Kraicinski had an apparent wound to his throat but it is unclear if it was caused by a gun or a bow-and-arrow. Bayles said he doesn't believe it is connected to any other unsolved homicide cases in Marion.
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The breakthrough was possible thanks to new services and technology offered to law enforcement, Bayles said. Detective Christy Utley worked closely with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigations where they conducted interviews, collected DNA and outsourced additional help for a facial reconstruction.
Bayles said the biggest key in identifying Kraicinski was DNA testing; especially being able to use other family member's DNA to cross reference the DNA law enforcement was able to obtain from Kraicinski. But getting to this point required lengthy legwork, which brought in Gabriella Vargas, of the DNA Doe Project, and Samantha Molnar, who created the facial reconstruction.
Molnar said they were able to get mitochondria from Kraicinski, but this specific type of DNA isn't always accurate as mitochondria is genetically passed from a family member. This led to connecting with Vargas who was able to use the DNA Doe Project's genealogy data to create matches for Kraicinski. Eventually, Kraicinski's brother was contacted for a DNA test and a match was made.
"We'd also like to thank the DNA Doe Project for their tireless work and for advocating for those who have no name and no voice," Bayles said while reading a statement on behalf of Kraicinski's family who were in attendance. "Without their endeavors, we, along with many other families, would never have located our loved one."
After contacting the family, Bayles said they were able to arrange a burial for Kraicinski and provide him with a proper headstone.
Molnar's facial reconstruction was also important in making this discovery, said Bayles, and the process for creating it shows how detailed the investigators were in this case. Molnar said she obtained Kraicinski's skull and created a 3-D image using a CT scan. With this 3-D image, she took it to the Ohio State University where she 3-D printed the skull as the base for her reconstruction
This facial reconstruction, the DNA testing and newspaper clippings were all used and much were sent in to BCI, the FBI and the DNA Doe Project, said Molnar.
Now, the Marion County Sheriff's Office is seeking tips from the community for the investigation of Kraicinski's death. Though it was 32 years ago, Bayles said he was last wearing black Adidas tennis shoes, a red and black short sleeved shirt and a multicolored knitted sweater. Bayles is hopeful they can find a suspect in this case and bring charges.
Those with information or tips are encouraged to call the Sheriff's Office at (740)-375-8477
Story by Mitch Hooper | (740)-244-9935 | [email protected] | @_MH16 on Twitter