A North Carolina man has been indicted on a murder charge decades after his son’s skeletal remains were found under a highway billboard in North Carolina.
The remains of Robert ‘Bobby’ Adam Whitt, who was born in Michigan and raised in Ohio, were only identified earlier this year after they were found in 1998.
John Russell Whitt, 57, has now been charged over his death. He was also indicted Monday on a charge of concealing a death.
He also faces charges in his wife’s death after police then determined an unidentified woman found dead in South Carolina the same year as Bobby was his mother.
The case was revived when Orange County Investigator Tim Horne connected with a genetic genealogy consultant and discovered a possible cousin.
Last year, the consultant who helped solve the Golden State Killer case, Barbara Rae-Venter, used DNA to determine the child was half-Asian and half-white.
Online DNA ancestry services identified a possible relative in Ohio.
That relative disclosed Bobby’s name, saying family didn’t report him missing because they assumed his mother took him to South Korea.
Based on that information, police determined an unidentified woman found in Spartanburg County, South Carolina, around the same time was Bobby’s mother.
She was identified as Myoung Hwa Cho with the help of the Korean National Police and INTERPOL, Spartanburg Sheriff’s Office spokesman Lt Kevin Bobo said.
Police said Cho was found dead in May 1998, the same year her son’s body had been dumped near the billboard along Interstate 40-85.
Her body was found along a service road near Interstate 85 in South Carolina and charges in Myoung Hwa Cho’s death may now follow.
Investigators in both states said they had never stopped trying to solve the 1998 cases that they never knew were related, separated by 215 miles along Interstate 85.
A pathologist who examined Cho after she was found reported that she had ligature marks around her wrists, from where they had been tied, and that she had been suffocated, according to the Observer.
Authorities had previously said Cho’s husband and Bobby’s father confessed to both murders after being interviewed by investigators.
Investigators developed a scenario in which John Russell Whitt killed his son and his wife and dumped their bodies along Interstate 85.
Whitt is in a Kentucky federal prison until until 2037 for robbing people at ATMs and carrying a weapon during those robberies.
The child’s skeletal remains were found by a mowing crew in September 1998. Investigators reconstructed what the boy’s face looked liked from his skull but did not get any matches on the national databases of missing children.
Natalie Mosteller, Bobby’s cousin, told WRAL: ‘The thing that I’m going to miss the most – before we knew this – was that I always had hope that I would eventually someday find Bobby and Myong on social media or something like that.
‘Now, not only am I mourning the loss of my aunt and my cousin, but I’m also mourning the loss of that hope.’