Human remains found in 1982 identified as member of The O’Jays

Frank Little Jr., a former guitarist and songwriter for the Cleveland R&B legends, was found about 25 miles southwest of the Forest City.

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The remains of a man who had been missing for nearly 40 years have been identified as that of a former guitarist and songwriter for the R&B group The O’Jays

The partial remains of Frank Little Jr. had been discovered in February 1982 in a garbage bag in Twinsburg, Ohio, but they were not identified until the DNA Doe Project, working with local authorities, used investigative genetic genealogy to locate potential relatives of the young man known for 39 years as Twinsburg John Doe 1982.

The remains of Frank Little Jr. (right) had been discovered in February 1982 in an Ohio garbage bag. They were identified with the help of the items like the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s clay model (left). (Photos: Samantha Molnar, Ohio BCI; Cleveland Metropolitan School District)

Little’s cause of death has been deemed a homicide, per NBC NewsAccording to a CNN report, his remains indicate that he had suffered blunt force trauma. 

In a statement, a representative for the band told CNN Little “came with us when we first ventured out of Cleveland and traveled to Los Angeles, but he also was in love with a woman in Cleveland that he missed so much that he soon returned back to Cleveland after a short amount of time.” 

They added that they “wish his family and friends closure to what appears to be a very sad story.” 

Little reportedly had a daughter who died in 2012, and a son police are seeking to notify. 

He was a native of Cleveland, which is where The O’Jays hail from. Little reportedly served time in the U.S. Army, including time in Vietnam. 

A local news outlet spoke to a cousin of Little’s, who said she was contacted by the DNA Doe Project. “I said yes. I have a cousin name Frankie Little is missing,” Margaret O’Sullivan told News 5 Cleveland. “We don’t know what happened to him. We always wondered what happened, so we don’t know what happened to Frankie at all.”

“It’s definitely nice that we can give some answers to the family and hopefully they have some sense of closure,” Twinsburg Detective Eric Hendershott said. “He had a life, and ultimately he ended up here in Twinsburg, with his life taken by another.”

Eddie Levert, the legendary lead singer and founder of The O’Jays, told the outlet Little was “sentimental, loving and passionate.” 

“He could have been a great entity in the music business, but he was in love, and love drove him back to Cleveland,” Levert said. While the group members had been out of touch for decades, he added: “I never would have thought this would happen to him. I don’t know why anyone would do him like that.” 

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