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  • Writer's pictureTom Clinton | Aificial Editor Chief

Kentucky remains identified as FBI fugitive who vanished nearly 25 years ago

A set of human remains that fishermen found "wrapped in heavy tire chains and anchored with a hydraulic jack" in a lake in Kentucky nearly 25 years ago has been identified as belonging to an FBI fugitive, state police have revealed. 

Kentucky State Police say with the help of "advanced DNA technology," Roger Parham has been determined to have been the body that was discovered in Lake Barkley in Lyon County on May 6, 1999. 

An FBI wanted poster described Parham – who was sought after failing to appear in court for a rape charge involving a minor in Arkansas – as being "very charming" and that he preferred "odd jobs so that he can get paid in cash." 

The FBI said at the time that Parham was believed to have fled Arkansas and "may have traveled to Mexico." 

Kentucky State Police said Monday that when the remains were found in 1999, "investigators were unable to identify the male using traditional investigative techniques.  

"In 2016, the body of the victim was exhumed in hopes that further examinations would help make an identification," police continued. "Despite extensive efforts using DNA technology, dental examinations, forensic pathology, and other advanced forensic testing, the victim remained unidentified." 

However, earlier this year, state police say they began working with Othram Inc., a private lab specializing in forensic genealogy.  

"A partnership with [the] National Missing and Unidentified Persons System and Othram Inc. allowed for advanced genealogy DNA testing of the remains. Through this testing, a relative of the unidentified person was located, which allowed investigators to identify the remains as Roger Parham," Kentucky State Police said. 

Roger Parham was wanted by the FBI in 1999.

Officials say due to the "suspicious circumstances" surrounding how Parham's remains were found, his death is now being investigated as a homicide. 

Parham's exact cause of death remains unknown. 

"On November 21, 1998, Roger Parham was arrested for rape involving a minor. He was subsequently released on bond with conditions, by the Circuit Court of Sebastian County, Arkansas, Fort Smith District," the FBI has said. "Parham's bond was revoked after he failed to appear on the charge of rape.  

"On June 3, 1999, a bench warrant was issued for his arrest. A federal arrest warrant was issued by the United States District Court, Western District of Arkansas, Fort Smith, Arkansas, on September 10, 1999, after Parham was charged federally with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution," the FBI added. 


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