In May 1999, two fishermen discovered human remains in Lake Barkley located in Lyon County, Kentucky. The individual was found wrapped in heavy tire chains and anchored with a hydraulic jack. It was determined that the remains were that of a white male between the ages of 25 and 45 years. The man was estimated to be between 5’6” and 6’1” tall and weighed approximately 225 pounds. The man was wearing a white t-shirt with a “No Fear Sports Bar” logo on the front and a “No Fear Gear” logo on the back, a nylon jacket with a Dallas Cowboys logo, a green Reebok jacket, size 38x30 blue jeans, a black leather belt, white socks, and size 10.5 tennis shoes.
At the time, investigators were unable to identify the man using traditional investigative techniques. A forensic composite depicting how the man may have looked during his life was created and released to the public. In 2016, the body of the victim was exhumed in hopes that further examinations would help make an identification. Despite extensive efforts using DNA technology, dental examinations, forensic pathology, and other advanced forensic testing, the man remained unidentified. Details of the case were entered into the National Missing and Unidentified Person System (NamUs) as UP75.
In 2023, the Kentucky State Police submitted forensic evidence to Othram in The Woodlands, Texas. Othram scientists successfully developed a DNA extract and then used Forensic-Grade Genome Sequencing® to build a comprehensive DNA profile for the man. Othram's in-house forensic genetic genealogy team used the profile in a genetic genealogy search to develop new investigative leads that were returned to investigators.
Using these new leads, Kentucky State Police investigators conducted a follow-up investigation and met with a potential relative of the unidentified man. This investigation led to the identification of the man as Roger Dale Parham. In 1999, Parham was residing in Fort Smith, Arkansas. At that time, Parham was awaiting trial on various criminal charges. In March of 1999, Parham disappeared and was thought to have left the area in an effort to flee prosecution.
The FBI secured additional charges against Mr. Parham and conducted an ongoing investigation into his whereabouts. Until now, Parham’s disappearance remained a mystery. Roger Parham’s cause of death is undetermined; however, due to the suspicious circumstances in which the remains were found, this case is being investigated as a homicide.
Anyone who has information regarding the death of Parham is urged to call Kentucky State Police Post 1- Mayfield at 270-856-3721. Tips can also be provided by by accessing the Kentucky State Police website at www.kentuckystatepolice.ky.gov/tip.
The services provided by Othram for this case were funded by the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs). NamUs is a national clearinghouse funded and administered by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) and managed through a contract with RTI International that assists the criminal justice community with the investigation and resolution of missing, unidentified, and unclaimed persons cases across the United States and its territories. We are grateful to RTI, NamUs, and the NIJ for the support.