Crime Possible Victim in Infamous 'Hog Trail Murders' Identified Through New DNA Testing 27 Years Later
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John Doe #1 - a possible victim of the alleged "Hog Trail Murders" serial killer - has been identified nearly three decades after his mutilated and decomposing body was found in Port Charlotte, Florida.
In a statement on Wednesday,announced that new DNA testing has confirmed the identity of the previously unknown murder victim as Gerald "Jerry" Lombard, a Massachusetts man who went missing in the early 1990s.
Lombard's body was discovered by authorities on February 1, 1994, after a local construction company worker reported a human body in the woods near Wyandotte Avenue and Tulip Street in northern Charlotte County. At the time, the man was given the name Joe Doe #1 when investigators were unable determine his identity or cause of death.
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In the following two years, similarly mutilated bodies of four other men were found in desolate wooded areas in both Charlotte and Sarasota counties. The grim discoveries led detectives to believe the men, including John Doe #1, were victims in what became known as the "Hog Trail Murders."
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Though some of the bodies were identified in the 90s during an investigation into the killings, John Doe #1's identity remained a mystery and his case went cold.
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In 2013, a cold case team sent John Doe #1's tooth to a lab for DNA testing in an effort to identify him, according to a news release from the Charlotte County Sheriff's Office. The process took seven years and investigators were able to narrow down a list of his potential relatives due to DNA findings in 2020.
"After contacting the family, it was determined that this was a large family of seventeen siblings and one of the brothers, Gerald (Jerry) Lombard had not been seen or heard from since approximately 1991 or 1992," a statement from the sheriff's office read.
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According to authorities, a niece in the family had submitted her DNA to Ancestry.com a few years ago, which was likely how the genetic genealogy match was made.
Investigators were able to verify John Doe #1 as Lombard after testing DNA samples obtained from his sister, brother and son.
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Daniel Conahan was convicted for the murder of Richard Montgomery - one of four men found in the two years following the discovery of Lombard's body - in 1997. Conahan, now 67, is currently on death row in the Florida State Prison, according to authorities.
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Due to circumstances surrounding Lombard's death, investigators believe Conahan to be a suspect in his murder and the Charlotte County Sheriff's Office's cold case team is continuing their investigation.
Authorities have asked anyone who knew Jerry Lombard or may have seen him with Daniel Conahan to call detectives at 941-639-2101.
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