Twenty years after his murder, an Ohio boy has been identified thanks to new technology. This process also helped investigators identify the boy’s mother, who had been murdered around the same time.
The young boy, Robert “Bobby “Adam Whitt, was found partially buried and decomposing in a rural North Carolina town in 1998. His identification comes thanks to new advancements in genetics technology.
Bobby’s body was found in 1998 in a town called Mebane. A landscaping crew found his remains behind a billboard near I-85. Mebane is roughly an hour outside of Raleigh, North Carolina, and is a rather rural area. Bobby’s remains were in rough shape, and investigators believe they had been there for some time before being discovered.
The case was ice-cold from the start. There was little evidence, poorly-preserved remains and little hope that whatever happened to the then-unidentified boy would ever be discovered. Major Tim Horne, Orange County Sheriff’s Detective, was on the case from the beginning. Detective Horne has been quick to apply any new technology to the case in an attempt to serve justice for the murdered child.
Around the same time, in 1998, a woman’s body was found naked in the woods in Spartanburg, South Carolina. The case, much like Bobby’s, remained cold for two decades, as a relative lack of evidence made it difficult for investigators to understand what happened to the anonymous woman.
The woman, who has now been identified as Myoung Hwa Cho, was found in the woods near I-85, not unlike Bobby. The autopsy showed that she had been suffocated. Sadly, the department was unable to determine any further details about the case, and it remained open for 20 years.
Dr. Barabra Rae-Venter, an accomplished genealogy consultant, used new technology in an attempt to help get a break in the case in Raleigh. She found a close relative of Bobby’s and learned that the relative thought Bobby had returned to Korea with his mother in the late ’90s. This helped quickly connect Bobby’s case to Myoung Hwa’s.
Finally, the investigators were able to track down Myoung Hwa’s husband, who is currently serving a term in prison for armed robbery. The unnamed man won’t be up for parole until 2037. Investigators say the man confessed to killing both his wife and his son.
Bobby’s family was devastated at the news, saying they couldn’t believe Bobby’s father would lie to them about what happened to Myoung Hwa. According to the family, they were told Myoung Hwa and Bobby simply moved back to Korea. They were incredulous when Detective Horne told them what really happened, but vowed to see Bobby and Myoung Hwa given proper burials near Bobby’s grandmother.