Boy found dead 44 years ago identified as California runaway

December 15, 2022 GMT

LONG BEACH, Calif. (AP) — A teen boy found dead on a Southern California street 44 years ago has been identified as runaway whose disappearance was never reported, police said.

The body was discovered in a residential neighborhood of Long Beach on June 3, 1978. Investigators were unable to identify the teen and he was dubbed “John Doe 1978,” the Long Beach Police Department said in a statement Wednesday.

The homicide case eventually went cold.

Police said recent advances in DNA technology allowed authorities to finally identify the boy as Kenneth Nevada Williams, who was 15 years old when he ran away from his home in La Puente, east of Los Angeles, in 1978.

“Williams was never reported missing. Homicide detectives were successfully able to locate and contact Williams’ family members and subsequently confirm his identity,” the police statement said.

No cause of death was given.

Donald Alway, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s LA Field Office, said his agency and police have resumed investigating the teen’s death.

“Justice delayed doesn’t have to be justice denied in this case. Kenneth Nevada Williams is now a known victim and identifying his killer is the next step in solving this case,” Alway said in a statement.