On Tuesday, the Twinsburg Police Department in Ohio announced that DNA from relatives was used to help to identify the remains found on February 18, 1982.
An employee at a now-closed business in Twinsburg discovered a skull in the snow, WEWS reported. The bones found were believed to be a couple of years old showing signs of trauma and police ruled the manner of death a homicide. According to reports, the remains “belonged to an African-American male, 20 to 35 years of age, approximately 5’6″ tall, and that he may have had adolescent kyphosis, a curvature of the spine.”
Until a partnership with the DNA Doe Project was forged in October, the identity of the remains was unknown for 40 years.
After the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation crime lab collected and analyzed the sample, Dr. Lisa Kohler of the Summit County Medical Examiner Office confirmed the remains were Little’s.
According to authorities, only sparse details are known about Little’s disappearance and subsequent death.
“It’s definitely nice that we can give some answers to the family and hopefully they have some sense of closure,” Twinsburg Detective Eric Hendershott said.”He had a life, and ultimately he ended up here in Twinsburg, with his life taken by another.”
In the mid-’60s, Little was a guitarist and songwriter for The O’Jays. During the 70s, the group would gain international acclaim as one of the most revered acts in R&B and was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2005.
In an official statement, The O’Jays confirmed that Little was a part of the band in the early days but haven’t heard from him since.
“He came with us when we first ventured out of Cleveland and traveled to Los Angeles, but he also was in love with a woman in Cleveland that he missed so much that he soon returned back to Cleveland after a short amount of time,” the statement read. Additionally, they “wish his family and friends closure to what appears to be a very sad story,” the statement continued.
Police say that Little was said to be alive in the mid-1970s, residing in Cleveland, around 24 miles away from where the remains were found.
Police are continuing to investigate Little’s death and disappearance.
His remains will be given to relatives for burial.