Retired investigator speaks on 1997 cold case ahead of new update

WAFF 48's Matthew King reporting
Published: May. 23, 2023 at 7:50 PM CDT
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MARSHALL CO., Ala. (WAFF) - Ahead of the Marshall County Sheriff’s Department’s press conference about a 1997 cold case, the case’s now-retired lead investigator reflected on the challenges of the evidence.

Retired investigator Keith Wilson said this case has puzzled him for years.

“We didn’t have any background information to get from the person,” he said.

Deputies found a decomposing body in a Marshall County Creek North of Arab in 1997. The body had no head, hands, feet or heart. Investigators couldn’t identify the victim, but they did have enough DNA evidence to continue their investigation.

“We did have DNA, but the DNA was run through the CODIS system and several other systems for years,” he said. “It was ran through for several years and we never got a hit.”

Wilson said at the time the body was found, technology was not advanced enough to identify the victim. Two years ago, experts shaped what the victim could have looked like, but it was not a perfect image.

“You can’t tell the style of the hair, maybe if the hair had been colored, facial hair, aging and things like that,” he said.

Wilson believes every day is a step closer to the truth.

“You may get away with it today but technology is going to catch up with you,” he said.

He said any positive update from the sheriff’s department would be satisfying for those who have worked so hard on this case.

“For us all to come up with a combined result, the case would be rewarding for all investigators involved,” he said.

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