Authorities seek killer after murder victim identified 36 years later

Investigators identified a murder victim 36 years after his body was found, and are now on the hunt for his killer.

Using DNA testing, genetic genealogy and a surgical titanium rod found in the victim's right femur, investigators linked the samples taken from exhumed remains as Jerry A. Mikkelson, the Jackson County Sheriff's office in Colorado said in a statement on Monday.

Mikkelson's body was discovered on Oct. 18, 1987, on the side of a road in Colorado just five miles from the Wyoming border. Through soil samples found in the victim's hair, investigators said they believe that Mikkelson was killed in Wyoming and then his body was taken to Colorado.

DNA samples and other technology identified Jerry A. Mikkelson 36 years after his body was found. / Credit: Jackson County Sheriff
DNA samples and other technology identified Jerry A. Mikkelson 36 years after his body was found. / Credit: Jackson County Sheriff

A missing persons report filed by a family member said Mikkelson, 24, willingly left his home in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, on August 8, 1983. Investigators said he traveled to Pittsburgh, Olathe, Kansas, Wyoming and possibly Colorado.

According to an online obituary for his mother, Alice Mikkelson, he was one of seven children. Mikkelson was raised in Sioux Falls, where his father ran a towing company and his mother was the company's bookkeeper. Both of his parents died before Mikkelson's identity was confirmed.

Mikkelson's family was able to confirm he had broken his femur six years prior to his death, which resulted in the titanium rod.

DNA samples and other technology identified Jerry A. Mikkelson 36 years after his body was found. / Credit: Jackson County Sheriff
DNA samples and other technology identified Jerry A. Mikkelson 36 years after his body was found. / Credit: Jackson County Sheriff

The Jackson County Sheriff's Office is asking for the public to call their tip line at (970) 875-7069 with any information.

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