‘John Doe’ identified in Marion County closed case, sheriff asking for tips


MARION COUNTY, Ohio (WCMH) – In July 1989, John Kraicinski moved away from his father’s house on Cherry Street in Galion. It was the last time a member of his family saw the 33-year-old at the time.

“John tended to be gone for months at a time. He had mental illness issues back then and he tended to just leave, ”Marion County Sheriff Matt Bayles said, explaining that the family thought Kraicinski was gone to start a new life and didn’t. had never reported missing.

More than three decades after his disappearance, they learn the truth about what happened to their brother and uncle.

Emerging technology and extensive DNA research conducted by a nonprofit forensic genealogy organization revealed that Kraicinski was killed shortly after leaving home. His remains were removed from Flat Run Creek in rural Marion County the same month he went missing. The body, which had decomposed considerably, could not be immediately identified. A coroner ruled the death a homicide, highlighting evidence of suffocation and a possible gunshot or arrow wound.

“A very basic homicide investigation, or any crime for that matter, involves identifying the victim and retracing their steps. Where did they come from? Who were they with? said Sheriff Bayles.

The investigation turned cold when none of the questions could be answered and the sheriff’s office received no tips.

In 2017, an Ohio BCI officer sculpted an updated composite sculpture of the victim, using 3D scans and a 3D printer to recreate a more precise skull shape. She also analyzed DNA in the BCI databases, but that was not enough to find a match.

In June 2019, the Sheriff’s Office and Ohio BCI enlisted the help of the DNA Doe Project. The organization had recently worked with the county to successfully identify a woman who was killed by a convicted serial killer in 2007.

Trained volunteers sent John Doe’s DNA to the International Commission on Missing Persons in The Hague, the Netherlands, then used genome sequencing and analyzed the results in multiple databases to find his closest relatives living parents.

“When an individual takes a DNA test – a ’23 and me’, ‘Ancestry’, one of the leading direct-to-consumer companies, then they can upload their raw data and upload it to those other 2 sites that we do. have access, ”explained Gabriella Vargas, genealogist for the DNA Doe Project.

When the organization found a probable name, they performed further DNA testing with members of Kraicinski’s family to positively identify him.

“Without their efforts, we and many other families would never have located our loved one,” Kraicinski’s family said in a statement read by Sheriff Bayles. “Our family members remain hopeful that even after all these years, the truth will be revealed. “

At a press conference on Tuesday, the sheriff admitted that identifying a victim is a first step. Now he is asking the public for leads in the investigation.

“I know it’s been 32 years, I know it’s been a long time. People have moved, people have died since. But if anyone can help us try to get justice for John, we would appreciate it, ”he said. “If we get any advice, some people who might have known John, might have seen John, might have been to a party with John – I don’t care what it is – back then … let us know so we can retrace his steps and hopefully do him justice. “

Bayles said Kraicinski was found wearing black Adidas tennis shoes, dakota jeans, a red and black striped short-sleeved sports shirt with a 3-button front pocket and a multi-colored knit sweater with diamonds and a zigzag pattern.

Anyone with information can report it to the Marion County Sheriff’s phone line at 740-375-8477.

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