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Texas authorities identify body found in 1986, partially submerged in lake with cinder blocks

A body discovered in a lake near Conroe, Texas, in 1986 that was partially submerged and held down by cinder blocks has been identified using the latest advancements in DNA technology.

The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office said on Aug. 3, 1986, several citizens were at Crater Lake in the Conroe area when they found a human body that was partially submerged in the water.

Deputies responded and removed the body, learning it was weighted down with two cement cinder blocks attached to an electrical cord.

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Although an autopsy was able to determine the male victim died of multiple gunshots, detectives were unable to identify who the victim was. Instead, he was described as a white man in his 20s, about 5-foot-6-inches, 133 pounds, slight build, collar length reddish brown hair, decaying teeth, and with tattoos, including one on his left upper arm that read “Liz” and another on his right upper arm that read “Baby Dawn.”

The victim also had his left ear lobe pierced and was wearing blue jeans with a 30-inch waist, a brown short-sleeve shirt and men’s white athletic socks.

The victim’s remains were exhumed by cold case detectives in 2015 to obtain DNA, so it could be entered into the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS), which is a database of DNA profiles from convicted offenders, unsolved crime scene evidence and missing persons. The detectives hoped to obtain an identification and possible facial identity by entering the DNA into the database.

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While the tasks were accomplished, the victim’s identity could not be determined.

Then, in May 2023, detectives took advantage of advancements in DNA technology by exhuming the remains again to get more DNA for Forensic Investigative Genetic Genealogy (FIGG,) and sent them to the Othram Lab.

While in the lab, additional DNA was obtained and a genealogy assessment was conducted, resulting in the identification of a possible family member in California.

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DNA samples

The family member was contacted by local law enforcement and a DNA sample was voluntarily obtained and sent to the Othram Lab.

In October 2023, the lab issued a report that confirmed the match between the human remains and the family member in California.

Those remains were identified as Clarence Lynn Wilson, who was born in 1952 and whose last known address was in Texas City, Texas.

The homicide investigation into Wilson’s death is ongoing.

Police ask anyone with information about Wilson or the crime to call 836-760-5820 or Crime Stoppers at 800-392-7867.

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