*The partial human remains of Frank “Frankie” Little Jr., guitarist for legendary R&B group The O’Jays, have been identified nearly 40 years after they were discovered in a garbage bag in Twinsburg, Ohio, in 1982.
“Thanks to the genealogical research of the DNA Doe Project, unidentified remains discovered on February 18, 1982 have been identified as Frank ‘Frankie’ Little Jr., born in 1943, from Cleveland, Ohio. His identity remained a mystery for almost 40 years,” a press release from Twinsburg Police Department reads.
Investigators took DNA from living relatives to help identify Little’s remains and his identity was “confirmed by Dr. Lisa Kohler of the Summit County Medical Examiner’s Office.”
The circumstances surrounding his disappearance or murder remain unclear. Dr. Kohler confirmed the manner of Little’s death was homicide, per the press release.
Thanks to genealogical research from the DNA Doe Project, human remains discovered in Ohio in 1982 have now been identified as those of Frank “Frankie” Little, Jr., who was a guitarist and songwriter for the R&B band The O’Jays. https://t.co/YmKCk40jJd pic.twitter.com/XXTIboGUts
— Denver7 News (@DenverChannel) December 14, 2021
“It’s amazing,” Margaret O’Sullivan, Little’s cousin, told the Akron Beacon Journal. “We’re glad that we have closure now. We know he’s deceased.”
“It’s definitely nice that we can give some answers to the family and hopefully they have some sense of closure,” Twinsburg Detective Eric Hendershott told ABC affiliate WEWS. “He had a life, and ultimately he ended up here in Twinsburg, with his life taken by another.”
Little served as the guitarist for The O’Jays in the 1960s, and was last seen alive in the mid-1970s, according to the Twinsburg Police Department’s press release.
Little’s partial remains were found in 1982, in a garbage bag behind a now-closed business in Twinsburg, according to police. A worker discovered a skull in the snow before police discovered the bag. The bones were anywhere from two to four years old and showed signs of blunt force trauma, according to WEWS. The case went cold for more than 20 years until it was reopened in 2009 by Sgt. Greg Feketik, who decided to identify the remains via DNA.
The O’Jays released a statement to CNN saying Little played in the band in the mid-’60s and they haven’t heard from him since.
“He came with us when we first ventured out of Cleveland and traveled to Los Angeles, but he also was in love with a woman in Cleveland that he missed so much that he soon returned back to Cleveland after a short amount of time,” reads the statement.
The group “wish his family and friends closure to what appears to be a very sad story,” the statement said.