Michael Schlicht : “Homicide Victim Found on California Trail in 1974 Finally Identified After 49 Years”

Death – Obituary – Accident and Crime News : Aliso Viejo, California – In a breakthrough development, investigators have finally identified a homicide victim who was found near a fire road trail in 1974, thanks to the use of investigative genetic genealogy. The Orange County Sheriff’s Department recently announced that the victim, previously known as John Doe, has been positively identified as Michael Schlicht from Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

The discovery of Schlicht’s body took place on September 14, 1974, when two individuals who were off-roading stumbled upon it. At the time, authorities determined that Schlicht had died three to five days prior due to alcohol and diazepam intoxication, initially declaring his death an accident. However, investigators suspected foul play and continued their efforts to identify the victim.

Despite extensive efforts, including the distribution of information about the case and collaboration with various law enforcement agencies, authorities were unable to identify Schlicht. As a result, he was buried as John Doe in an unlabeled grave at El Toro Memorial Park.

Years later, the sheriff’s office discovered a series of deaths in southern California in 1978, all linked to alcohol and diazepam intoxication. They suspected that Schlicht may have been an early victim of Randy Steven Kraft, also known as the “Scorecard Killer.” Kraft was eventually convicted of killing 16 people, with evidence suggesting that he may have had additional victims.

The breakthrough in identifying Schlicht came when investigators submitted tissue samples to Othram Laboratories in November 2022. Through DNA analysis and the construction of a family tree, they were able to locate Schlicht’s granddaughter. She revealed that she had not seen her 17-year-old brother since April 1974, providing a crucial lead.

Investigators then traveled to Kansas City, where they collected a DNA sample from a potential mother of the victim. The results confirmed the victim’s identity as Michael Schlicht. The sheriff’s office has since notified Schlicht’s family members, and efforts are underway to mark his gravestone.

This long-awaited identification brings closure to a nearly five-decade-old mystery. It also serves as a testament to the power of investigative genetic genealogy in solving cold cases and bringing justice to victims and their families. The Orange County Sheriff’s Department continues to work tirelessly to solve other unsolved cases and hold perpetrators accountable for their crimes.

For more information on this case, refer to the official press releases from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department and Othram Labs. Additionally, True Crime Daily offers in-depth coverage of high-profile and under-the-radar cases through their podcast, YouTube page, and social media platforms.

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