Body found 33 years ago identified as missing Florida man

Body found
Posted at 8:49 AM, Sep 29, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-29 04:53:14-04

MACON, Ga. (AP) - The body of a man shot in the head and left on a remote dirt road between Forsyth and Gray 33 years ago has been identified as a missing Florida man.

The Telegraph reported that a DNA analysis of the man’s remains, completed earlier this year, matched that of William Maholland, who was reported missing from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in June 1984.

Maholland, who was 28, is thought to have been killed a month earlier and dumped in Jones County, nearly 600 miles north of his hometown. A fisherman found the body in the Oconee National Forest.

Investigators suspected that the man was from out of town because of his Bermuda shorts and a belt with swordfish on it. Authorities estimated that he had been dead about a week.

The case went cold in 1987. Jones County sheriff’s investigator Earl Humphries thought the chances of identifying the slain man were slim.

“You don’t ever give up hope,” Humphries said.

In 2006, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation exhumed the man’s body and collected DNA.

At some point, Fort Lauderdale police took a DNA sample from Maholland’s mother and entered it into the National DNA Index System.

In November, forensic scientists at the University of North Texas matched the deceased man’s DNA with the sample from his mother.

In March, a GBI agent called Humphries and gave him the news.

“It’s still a cold case,” Humphries said. “We’ve just gotten one step further now that we know who the victim is.”

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