2-Year-Old Found Dead in Oregon 58 Years Ago Finally Identified Thanks to Advanced DNA Technology
Police say the boy was identified as Stevie Crawford and was born Oct. 2, 1960, making him just two-and-a-half years old when he was found dead July 11, 1963.
One of Oregon’s greatest mysteries has been solved nearly 60 years later, thanks to cutting edge technology. The identity of a little boy found dead in the mountains east of Ashland in July 1963 has at last been discovered, the Jackson County Sheriff's Office announced Monday.
Police say the boy was identified as Stevie Crawford and was born Oct. 2, 1960, making him just two-and-a-half years old when he was found dead July 11, 1963. He was discovered by Roy E. Rogers, 65, who was fishing in the Keene Creek Reservoir when he found the toddler's body wrapped in blankets, bound with wire, and weighted down with iron molds, KDRV reported.
Autopsies at the time did not produce a concrete cause of death and the case soon went cold.
There were never any breaks in the case and KDRV says that almost two dozen Sheriffs, detectives and deputies worked on the case, with help from the Oregon State Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
In 2008, investigators exhumed the toddler’s body from a local cemetery to take a DNA sample, but the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) didn't return any matches, KDRV reported.
Two years later, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) created a composite image using the DNA taken in 2008, ABC News reported.
Investigators then turned to genetic genealogy and GEDMatch, the same open-source genealogy repository used to find the so-called Golden State Killer, Joseph James DeAngelo.
Genetic genealogist CeCe Moore found several of the boy's relatives and researched their family trees to narrow the search to the boy's immediate family, ABC News reported.
In December 2020, authorities say their biggest break happened when a tip came in on the Facebook page for the local police.
A half-brother of the victim came forward and told authorities that he had a younger brother with Down syndrome named Stevie who was born in New Mexico but lived in Oregon in the early 1960s "but mysteriously vanished from the family with little explanation," police said in a statement on Wednesday.
Cops said that the relative agreed to give a DNA sample and it matched the missing boy.
"This disabled little boy was loved and missed by his siblings, and deserved to have a name and identity. Stevie's case was a very emotional one for all of the investigators involved," Moore told ABC News. "Once the genetic genealogy research led to his family, the fact that his surviving family has been very loving and willing to assist has been a great comfort."
Cops say the little boy lived with his mother, who has since died, Jackson County sheriff's officials said. Cops said his father lived in California at the time of his son’s death and is also dead.
The boy’s cause of death still remains unclear. His secretive burial and lack of family information is considered suspicious, sheriff's officials said.
Sheriff's officials said no charges are expected.
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