DNA Analysis Identifies Unknown Victim of Serial Killer Larry Eyler

Human remains discovered nearly 40 years ago on an abandoned farm in rural Lake Village, Indiana, have finally been identified as those of Keith Lavell Bibbs. The identification was made possible through DNA analysis conducted by the Newton County Coroner’s Office and the DNA Doe Project, leading to a breakthrough that connects Bibbs to the late serial killer, Larry Eyler.

Keith Lavell Bibbs, a 16-year-old Chicago resident, was tragically labeled as “Adam Doe” alongside three other victims discovered on the same farm in October 1983. Eyler, who confessed to killing more than 20 victims, including Bibbs, drugged and murdered the four young men. Eyler’s heinous crimes eventually led to his death on death row in 1994 for the murder of 15-year-old Danny Bridges in an Illinois prison.

According to Pam Lauritzen, spokesperson for the DNA Doe Project, Eyler had previously admitted to killing a young black man in his late teens or early 20s at a Newton County farm in July 1983. Bibbs is believed to have been the victim Eyler referred to during his confession. The identification process was challenging due to highly degraded DNA and Bibbs’ complex family history, complicated by name changes over the years.

The groundbreaking work of the DNA Doe Project, a nonprofit organization specializing in DNA research for identifying unidentified individuals, played a crucial role in bringing closure to Bibbs’ case. Collaborating with the coroner’s office, Indiana State Police, and the Identify Indiana Initiative, the project created a workable DNA profile after an extensive two-year laboratory process. Despite the underrepresentation of black individuals in DNA libraries, genealogists finally made a breakthrough by discovering a public family tree of a DNA cousin.

Newton County Coroner Scott McCord expressed his commitment to ensuring Bibbs’ remains are returned to his living relatives, marking the final step in allowing him a proper resting place after four decades of uncertainty. The family has asked for privacy as they grieve the long-overdue closure. McCord noted, “Everything’s done except for getting him back home. It’s been a long road getting all those kids identified.”

The successful identification of Keith Lavell Bibbs also aided in identifying one of the other three victims found on the same farm, namely John Bradenbyr Jr., in April 2021. Michael Bauer and John Bartlett were previously identified early in the investigation.

The discovery and subsequent identification of Keith Lavell Bibbs’ remains shed further light on Larry Eyler’s chilling crimes, emphasizing the importance of DNA analysis and the relentless determination to bring justice to the victims and closure to their families.

Author: CrimeDoor

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