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Body discovered in Kentucky lake identified 24 years later as FBI fugitive

Kentucky State Police

(NEW YORK) — More than two decades after fishermen found the body of a man wrapped in heavy tire chains and anchored with a hydraulic jack in a Kentucky lake, police said they have positively identified the body.

However, they say they are still searching for clues as to who killed Roger Dale Parham, a fugitive from the FBI, and how his body was left at Lake Barkley.

Kentucky State Police said they were able to use advanced genealogy DNA testing to identify Parham after previous attempts were unsuccessful.

Parham, who was 52 at the time of his disappearance, was on the lam from authorities in Arkansas after he was arrested and charged with rape in November 1998, according to the FBI. He was released on bond and failed to show up for a court date in March 1999, investigators said.

On May 6, 1999, the fisherman found the body at the lake, which is located in Lyon County, according to the state police.

At the time “traditional investigative techniques” could not determine the body’s identity, the state police said. In 2016, the body was exhumed for further testing, including “DNA technology, dental examinations, forensic pathology, and other advanced forensic testing,” but no matches were determined, according to the state police.

Earlier this year, the state police partnered with the National Missing and Unidentified Person System and Othram Inc., a private forensic lab specializing in forensic genealogy, to test the remains at a later date.

“Through this testing, a relative of the unidentified person was located, which allowed investigators to identify the remains as Roger Dale Parham,” the state police said in a statement.

Parham’s cause of death is still undetermined, and the state police have classified it as a homicide. The investigation is ongoing.

Anyone with information regarding Parham’s death is asked to call Kentucky State Police Post 1- Mayfield at 270-856-3721 or via Kentucky State Police website at

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