A teenager found dead on a Southern California street 44 years ago has been identified as a runaway who was never reported missing, police said.
The body was discovered in a Long Beach residential neighborhood on June 3, 1978. Investigators were unable to identify the teen and nicknamed him “John Doe 1978,” the The Long Beach Police Department said in a statement on Wednesday. The murder case finally 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.
Williams was never reported missing. Homicide detectives were able to locate and contact Williams’ family members and subsequently confirm his identity,” the police statement said.
No cause of death was given.
Donald Alway, deputy director in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles field office, said his agency and police have resumed the investigation into the teen’s death.
“Justice delayed does not have to 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 in Fairgrove Academy on October 18, 1977. His last day of school was October 27. October 1977.
“Without the aid of investigative genealogy, Kenneth Williams may never have been identified, however his story is far from over. The person(s) responsible for his murder are still pending and must be held accountable for their crimes so that Kenneth Williams and his family will get the justice they deserve,” the Long Beach Police Department said.
Anyone with information about the 1978 murder or the whereabouts of Williams from October 27, 1977 to June 3, 1978 is asked to contact the LBPD Homicide Department, Missing Persons Section at (562) 570-7246.