In June 1984, skeletonized human remains were discovered in a farm outbuilding near Troy, Missouri. Analysis performed at the time of recovery suggested that these were the remains of an adult male of European ancestry, between 40 and 80 years old at the time of death. He likely stood between 6’ to 6’2” and was dressed in expensive, formal clothing. The cause of death was a gunshot wound, and the manner of death was determined to be homicide. It was estimated that he had been deceased for approximately 6 months. Traditional forensic DNA testing was used to search CODIS, and the case was entered into NamUs as UP5012, but no match was found. Over the years, investigators pursued all available leads to identify the victim, but in spite of these efforts, the homicide victim remained unidentified for 38 years.
After successfully working another unidentified human remains (UHR) case together, Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office teamed up again with Southeast Missouri State University (SEMO) and Othram to work this new case. SEMO anthropology students, supervised by Dr. Jennifer Bengtson, inventoried the remains and were able to refine the age-at-death estimate and other aspects of the biological profile. Skeletal trauma and individualizing characteristics were documented. Students also applied non-destructive testing to help select the best skeletal evidence to submit to Othram for DNA extraction and Forensic-Grade Genome Sequencing®. DNA extraction at Othram's laboratory was successful and a comprehensive DNA profile was built. Othram’s in-house genealogy team was able to generate new investigative leads, which were returned to the investigators at the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office.
With these new investigative leads, Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office Cold Case detectives were able to meet with, interview, and ultimately obtain DNA samples from potential family members. The investigation and follow up DNA testing confirmed that the unidentified homicide victim was Jack Langeneckert. Langeneckert disappeared in 1982. Shortly after his initial disappearance, his vehicle was located at the St. Louis Airport. While the cause of death is known, investigators are still piecing together the motive for the homicide. Thanks to the cooperation between public and private partners, investigators are able to pursue justice for Jack and his family. At the time of his disappearance, Jack was a Real Estate Agent working in the St. Louis Area.
Anyone with information about this case should contact Lieutenant Amy Tippett of the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Division. Lieutenant Tippett can be reached at 636.462.6470. For more information on the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, visit their website at www.lcsomo.gov.
This work was funded in large part by the Southeast Missouri State University’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences and the Harryette Campbell Endowed Anthropological Fund.
The remainder of the costs associated with this case were funded by a DNASolves crowdfund.