EATON, Ohio (WDTN) — A Preble County cold case heated up, and is now halfway from being solved.
It has been more than 50 years since the remains of an unidentified body was found by children in Eaton. Preble County law enforcement were alerted about the remains in a flooded creek bed back in 1968.
Before, the remains were believed to be a female. With today’s technology and advancement of DNA and testing, authorities identified the remains as Albert Allen Frost of Hamilton.
During his lifetime, Frost had served in the US Army. The last time anyone saw Frost was between 1963 and 1964, but he was never reported missing.
Officials estimated the remains could have been there 10 to 15 years prior to being found. Due to flooding of the creek bed, police believe it washed out a shallow grave.
Many throughout the case believed the remains to be Mary Jane Croft VanGilder. She was last seen in 1945, and was from Fairmont, West Virginia.
In 2019, detectives from the Shelby police department and coroner’s office exhumed the body from Mound Hill Cemetery. Detectives say the cause of death is still undetermined, but there is no indication of trauma, such as a gunshot wound.
Authorities were able to utilize advanced DNA forensic technologies to lead them to a name.
Relatives of the identified man say they are happy he was found but there’s still a lot of uncertainty.
“I don’t think that you know, I don’t think he rolled himself up in something and threw himself into the creek. So that suggests to me that there was foul play,” said Tina Barrett, relative of Frost. “Whether we find out exactly how it happened, I don’t know. I don’t know that we can and I don’t know that it matters I think it’s wonderful that we found him.”
Investigators believe that since the body has now been identified, they hope someone will reach out with any information.
The next step in the investigation is to complete Frost’s death certificate. Officials are still waiting on military records.