Human remains found almost 25 years ago identified by KSP

Published 6:35 pm Monday, December 18, 2023

Kentucky State Police in Mayfield announced Monday it has positively identified remains found nearly 25 years ago in Lake Barkley, thanks to the help of advanced DNA technology.

On May 6, 1999, the KSP says the human remains were discovered by two fishermen in the Lyon County area of Lake Barkley. The individual was located wrapped in heavy tire chains and anchored with a hydraulic jack.

At the time, investigators were unable to identify the man using traditional investigative techniques. In 2016, the body of the victim was exhumed in hopes that further examinations would help make an identification. Despite extensive efforts using DNA technology, dental examinations, forensic pathology, and other advanced forensic testing, the victim remained unidentified. A profile for the remains was entered into the National Missing and Unidentified Person System (NAMUS) as case: UP# 75.

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Early this year, the KSP began engaging with Othram Inc., a private forensic lab that specializes in forensic genealogy. A partnership with NAMUS and Othram Inc. allowed for advanced genealogy DNA testing of the remains. Through this testing, a relative of the unidentified person was located which allowed investigators to identify the remains as Roger Dale Parham.

KSP investigators immediately began researching Parham, which led to multiple discoveries. In 1999, Parham was residing in Fort Smith, Arkansas. At that time, Parham was awaiting trial on various criminal charges. In March of 1999, Parham disappeared and was thought to have left the area to flee prosecution. The FBI obtained additional charges for Parham and conducted an ongoing investigation into his whereabouts. Until now, Parham’s disappearance has remained a mystery.

Roger Parham’s cause of death remains undetermined, however, due to the suspicious circumstances in which the remains were located, the KSP says this case is being investigated as a homicide.

Anyone who has information regarding the death of Parham is urged to call Kentucky State Police Post 1 in Mayfield at (270)-856-3721. Tips can also be provided by accessing the KSP website at www.kentuckystatepolice.ky.gov/tip