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The remains of a Siloam Springs man missing since 1987 have been identified thanks to advances in DNA technology.

The death of William "Bill" Reed is now being actively investigated as a homicide by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, according to a press release from the agency.

Reed was reported missing to the Benton County Sheriff's Office in August 1987, according to Sgt. Shannon Jenkins. He was last seen by his family in the Siloam Springs area and a report was also filed with the Delaware County Sheriff's Office in Oklahoma because Reed often frequented areas just across the state line, she said in an email.

"Reed was suspected of being involved in drug activity and was known to hang around some questionable people," Jenkins said in an email. "Rumor had it that Reed had possibly been killed for owing drug money."

Over the years, the Benton County Sheriff's Office continued to investigate Reed's disappearance, questioning and interviewing numerous people, Jenkins said. In 2001, DNA samples from Reed's family were collected and entered into a database, she said.

Only a year after Reed's disappearance, the remains of a homicide victim were found on private property in Maize, Okla, in Mayes County, according to a press release from the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation. As time passed, agents also worked to develop leads to identify the individual and solve the murder case, but it wasn't until last month that advances in DNA technology allowed the agency to identify them as Reed, the release states.

In August 2018, the OSBI requested the Oklahoma Office of the Chief Medical Examiner send a bone from the unknown male to the University of North Texas in hopes their forensic services unit could extract DNA for identification, the release states. The DNA profile was entered into the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) last month.

In March, more than 30 years after Reed went missing, both the Benton County Sheriff's Office and OSBI received notification about the match between Reed's family members and the unidentified victim found in Mayes County in July 1988, Jenkins said.

Reed's brother and daughter's decision to enter DNA into NamUs was critical to identifying his remains, the OSBI release states. The agency thanked UNT, the chief medical examiner's office, NamUS and Reed's family for their combined effort in solving the case.

"For families who have a missing loved one, it is important to get a DNA sample to law enforcement to be entered into NamUs," it states. "Samples from numerous cold cases have been entered into the system but are still unidentified because there is no familial DNA to match it to."

Anyone with information about Reed's death or disappearance is asked to contact the OSBI at 800-522-8017 or email

General News on 04/14/2019

Print Headline: Missing man's remains identified after 30 years

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