The remains of Frank “Frankie” Little Jr., the guitarist and songwriter for the O’Jays who disappeared sometime around the mid-’70s, have been identified nearly 40 years after they were discovered.
In 1982, police found the remains in a garbage bag behind a business in Twinsburg, Ohio. At the time, authorities were able to determine that the person had been stabbed to death several years prior, however they were unable to identify the victim’s identity. Then, just two months ago, a breakthrough came via the DNA Doe Project, a non-profit organization determined to identify deceased persons using forensic genealogy.
“In October 2021, the DNA Doe Project provided the names of potential living relatives, who were able to provide Frank’s name,” Twinsburg police explained via press release. “A close relative [of Little’s] provided a DNA sample, which was analyzed by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation Crime Lab. His identity was then confirmed by Dr. Lisa Kohler of the Summit County Medical Examiner’s Office.”
Little played with the O’Jays in the band’s early years, writing several songs including “Do the Jerk,” “Pretty Words” and “Oh, How You Hurt Me.” It wouldn’t be until after Little’s tenure that the O’Jays scored their biggest hits, including “Back Stabbers,” “For the Love of Money” and “Love Train.”
After this run with the O’Jays, Little joined the U.S. Army and spent two years serving in the Vietnam War. He returned to his hometown of Cleveland following the war, and his last known residence was in the city. His disappearance in the mid-’70s left more questions than answers.
“I’m very excited we were able to put a name to these remains and to get him back to his family and give his family that piece of closure,” Kohler noted to the Akron Beacon Journal.
Authorities will continue to investigate the musician’s death as a homicide.
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