Cold case solved thanks to determined investigator and dentist

Albany County

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DELMAR, N.Y. (NEWS10) —Bethlehem Police say they have cracked a decades old cold case and the technology used to solve it is now making Capital Region history.

In Elm Avenue Town Park, close to where remains were discovered 40 years ago, Bethlehem police announced that they now who they belong to.

“The body found is no longer John Doe, but is in fact, Franklin Feldman,” said Commander Adam Hornick.

Hornick says 41 year-old Franklin Feldman of Massachusetts was known to live a transient life and was never reported missing. Even after his badly decomposed body was discovered by a farmer in April of 1981.

The remains were buried in a paupers grave and consisted iffy for genetic identification. But then came break in the case.

A jaw bone from the remains, had been saved in a box in the basement of Dr. Colin Morton’s Ballston Lake dental office.

“We just had it on the shelf for safe storage,” told News10’s Anya Tucker. He says the previous dentist who owned the practice was Dr. Alan Rosell. “He had gotten into forensic dentistry at some point. I didn’t know exactly what to do with it but they contacted me and that’s how it all started,” he added.

It was Commander Adam Hornick who told Anya Tucker in 2019 that he made that call after reopening the case, finding a note about the jaw bone in the old file.

Due to narrow criteria for familial DNA testing, investigators had to turn to a private company which helped them create a family tree and an eventually a match with 2 of Feldman’s surviving relatives.

“I would say if those jaw bones were never found this case would never be solved,” said Hornick.

Hornick says it is the first time that investigative genetic genealogy has been used to solve a case in the Capital Region. He added that they will likely never know exactly how Franklin Feldman died. But he hopes the family now has come closure.

Check out the stream below. Police announced the historic use of modern investigative methods to identify human remains found in Bethlehem more than 40 years ago.

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