Charlotte County Sheriff's Office & FBI Leverage Othram’s Forensic Sequencing Platform to Identify a 1988 Murder Suspect

After thirty-five years, the suspect in the 1988 murder of 58-year-old Robert Hecht has been identified as Kenneth Ray Miller.

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Published April 25, 2024 by Michael Vogen
Media Inquiries


In November 1988, detectives found 58-year-old Robert Hecht murdered in his home on Rio Togas Road in Charlotte County, Florida. Hecht had been hit in the head several times with a glass ashtray by an unknown individual. In the course of the investigation, detectives learned that Hecht had been last seen with a man named Ray. Detectives also learned that Hecht’s recently purchased Lincoln was missing from his garage. It was later found abandoned in North Carolina. Despite the efforts of investigators, the person responsible for Hecht’s murder could not be identified.

Although forensic DNA technology was in its infancy at the time of Hecht's murder, DNA evidence was collected at the scene of the crime and preserved for future testing. Years later, DNA from the crime scene was finally analyzed and an STR profile was developed and entered into the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS). Unfortunately, there was no match found in the CODIS search to a known identity. With all leads exhausted, and without a suspect identified, the case eventually went cold.

In August 2022, Charlotte County Sheriff's Office submitted evidence from the crime scene to Othram in The Woodlands, Texas to determine if advanced DNA testing could help to identify the suspect. Othram scientists used Forensic-Grade Genome Sequencing® to develop a comprehensive genealogical profile from the DNA of the unknown male suspect. After successfully completing the process, the DNA profile was delivered to the FBI's forensic genetic genealogy team and the FBI team performed the necessary work to generate new investigative leads in the case.

Using these new leads, law enforcement investigators met with possible relatives of the unidentified suspect. As a result of their investigation, Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office was able to identify the suspect as Kenneth Ray Miller. Miller died in 2007 of natural causes. Investigators learned that Miller had a long criminal history, and with Miller’s identification, the investigation into Robert Hecht’s murder is officially closed.

This case represents the 22nd case in the State of Florida where officials have publicly identified an individual using Othram technology.

Help fund another case Your contributions pay for lab supplies and research tools

Michael Vogen

Michael Vogen

Director of Case Management

2829 Technology Forest Blvd Suite 100, The Woodlands, Texas 77381

Michael works with law enforcement agencies throughout the United States and Canada on “unsolvable“ cases that can benefit from advanced DNA testing methods. He helps these agencies use cutting edge DNA sequencing and new forensic techniques to develop investigative leads for their cases.

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About Othram Inc.

Othram is the world’s first private DNA laboratory built specifically to apply the power of modern parallel sequencing to forensic evidence. Othram’s scientists are experts at ... Read morerecovery, enrichment, and analysis of human DNA from trace quantities of degraded or contaminated materials. Founded in 2018, and located in The Woodlands, Texas, our team works with academic researchers, forensic scientists, medical examiners, and law enforcement agencies to achieve results when other approaches have failed. Follow Othram on Twitter @OthramTech or visit to learn how we can help you with your case. With anyone can make a difference and help solve the next cold case.