LAFAYETTE, Ga. — Authorities in Walker County today exhumed the body of an unidentified murder victim, found near here in 1953 and buried in an unmarked grave in LaFayette City Cemetery.
It is part of a cold case investigation being conducted in cooperation with police investigators from Hamilton, Ohio.
Walker County Sheriff Steve Wilson said they will try to get DNA bearing material from the body for testing to see if the body is that of Miami University of Ohio student Ronald Tammen Jr.
Mr. Tammen disappeared from his dorm room at the college in Oxford, Ohio, about the same time in 1953 that the body was found here. His case has never been solved.
The chief forensic anthropologist for Georgia, Dr. Kris Sperry, is helping in the investigation.
Sheriff Wilson said today’s technology has helped Walker County detectives, who began reviewing cold case files and began looking into the still open 1953 case.
They took a description of the Walker County body from newspaper accounts at the time, and began searching on the Internet. It was not long before they found the missing man report in Ohio, who had a similar description to the John Doe body here.
After further investigation and discussions with Ohio investigators, they decided to exhume the body.
If DNA can be recovered from the body that had been buried for nearly 55 years, it will be checked to see if there is a match with DNA from the sole surviving sibling of Mr. Tammen, a sister who lives in Cleveland, Ohio.
For complete coverage, see Saturday’s Times Free Press.