A cold case dating back to 1986 has finally been resolved, thanks to advancements in DNA technology. The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office announced the identification of a body found in Crater Lake near Conroe, Texas, as 71-year-old Clarence Lynn Wilson.
On August 3, 1986, locals discovered a partially submerged human body in the lake. The body, later identified as Wilson’s, was weighed down with two cement cinder blocks tied with an electrical cord. Despite an autopsy confirming death by multiple gunshots, the victim’s identity remained a mystery for decades. Descriptions at the time noted the victim as a white male in his 20s, with specific physical attributes and tattoos.
In a renewed effort, cold case detectives exhumed the victim’s remains in 2015 to obtain DNA for entry into the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS), a database containing DNA profiles from offenders, crime scene evidence, and missing persons. Despite these efforts, the victim’s identity remained elusive.
In May 2023, detectives exhumed the remains again to utilize advancements in Forensic Investigative Genetic Genealogy (FIGG). The DNA obtained was sent to the Othram Lab for further analysis. This process led to the identification of a potential family member in California.
Local law enforcement in California contacted the family member, who voluntarily provided a DNA sample for comparison. In October 2023, Othram Lab confirmed a match between the remains and the family member, conclusively identifying the victim as Clarence Lynn Wilson, last known to reside in Texas City, Texas.
The breakthrough in this cold case has reopened the homicide investigation into Wilson’s death. The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office continues to seek information related to Wilson and the circumstances surrounding his death.
Authorities encourage anyone with knowledge about Wilson or the crime to contact them at 836-760-5820 or reach out to Crime Stoppers at 800-392-7867. The resolution of this long-standing mystery exemplifies the profound impact of DNA technology in solving cold cases and providing closure to unresolved investigations.