Nearly 40 years after a suspect pled guilty to the murder, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) has successfully identified the victim thanks to its Unidentified Human Remains DNA Initiative. The remains found in a wooded area near Sycamore Lane, Crossville on August 26, 1983, have been confirmed as Kenneth Levall Thompson, born in November 1965, making him around 17 at the time of his death.
Thompson had been stabbed multiple times, prompting a homicide investigation. Despite the unidentified remains, a suspect was charged and pled guilty to second-degree murder in May 1984, serving a 20-year sentence. Efforts to identify Thompson persisted, with DNA samples submitted for identification to various centers over the years, but with no successful matches.
In a recent breakthrough, Thompson’s remains were sent to Othram Laboratories in Texas in December as part of the TBI’s DNA Initiative. The Forensic Genetic Genealogical (FGG) DNA testing conducted there helped identify possible relatives in Michigan. Further investigation and familial DNA comparison confirmed the remains as Thompson, who was from Detroit, Michigan.
TBI hopes this revelation brings some closure to Thompson’s family, who had lost contact with him around 1982-1983. They are now seeking photographs of Thompson from the late 1970s or early 1980s to further aid the investigation. This case represents one of the ten cold cases that the TBI aims to solve through its ongoing DNA initiative. Anyone with relevant information or photographs is encouraged to contact the TBI at 1-800-TBI-FIND.