Remains Identified In Unsolved Twinsburg Case Are Songwriter, Guitarist For The O’Jays In The 1960s

Remains Identified In Unsolved Twinsburg Case Are Songwriter, Guitarist For The O’Jays In The 1960s


Remains Identified In Unsolved Twinsburg Case Are Songwriter, Guitarist For The O’Jays In The 1960s. Photo: Screengrab from WKYC / YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jVXXDJu5lxw&t=1s

Human remains that were unidentified for almost 40 years have been proven through DNA testing to belong to a member of the hit 1960s R&B group The O’Jays.     

The body of Frank “Frankie” Little, Jr., who played guitar and wrote several songs with the group during the 1960s, was found in a garbage bag in Twinsburg, Ohio, back in 1982, the Akron Beacon Journal reported.

The circumstances of Little’s death are still unknown, but it’s now being ruled a homicide. Using DNA and genealogical databases, investigators finally identified Little after nearly four decades.

Born in 1943, Little was a member of the O’Jays for a brief time and worked with the group’s lead vocalist and co-founder, Eddie Levert, to write several songs, including “Do the Jerk” (1964), “Pretty Words” (1966) and “Oh, How You Hurt Me” (1967). Little is also credited with vocals on the 1962 song, “Down at the Corner,” Rolling Stone reported.

The identification of Little’s remains reopened the investigation into his death, according to Twinsburg detective Eric Hendershott. 

“Frankie was a guitarist and songwriter in the very early O’Jays,” the band said in a statement shared with Rolling Stone. “He came with us when we first ventured out of Cleveland and traveled to Los Angeles, but he also was in love with a woman in Cleveland that he missed so much that he soon returned back to Cleveland after a short amount of time. That was in the mid-1960s, and we had not heard from him after then. Although this sounds like a tragic ending, we wish his family and friends closure to what appears to be a very sad story.”

In 1982, Little’s remains were first discovered when employees at an old machine shop found a skull behind the shop. After searching the property, police uncovered the rest of the human remains in a garbage bag. At the time, forensic anthropologists determined that the remains had been sitting around for two to four years before their discovery.

Then in 2009, Sgt. Greg Feketik looked into the cold case but efforts to plug the man’s DNA into various databases, including the FBI’s, did not result in identification. 

In 2018, the case was once again reopened by Hendershott, and authorities began working with the DNA Doe Project, a nonprofit that helps identify John and Jane Does with genetic genealogy. In 2019, Little’s DNA profile was compared with those in public genealogy databases. This allowed investigators to build a family tree, ultimately leading them to the surname “Little.” 

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Hendershott tracked down Margaret O’Sullivan, a cousin of Little’s, who confirmed that she’d had a cousin who’d gone missing. After obtaining a DNA sample from Little’s brother, Little’s identity was officially declared. 

“I’m very excited we were able to put a name to these remains and to get him back to his family and give his family that piece of closure,” Summit County Medical Examiner Lisa Kohler told the Akron Beacon Journal. Kohler assisted Twinsburg detectives with the investigation.

Now investigators will attempt to figure out who killed Little and how his remains ended up in a garbage bag behind a Twinsburg business in February 1982.