December 15, 2021
The remains of a body found nearly 40 years ago have finally been identified as Frank “Frankie” Little Jr., a former member of the R&B band The O’Jays.
Little was a Cleveland musician and songwriter who joined The O’Jays as a guitarist and songwriter in the mid-60s. He worked on a number of the band’s songs including 1964’s ‘Do the Jerk’, 1966’s ‘Pretty Words’ and 1967’s ‘Oh, How You Hurt Me’.
The Twinsburg Police Department in Ohio announced yesterday (December 14) that human remains that were discovered in a bin bag behind a now-closed business on February 18, 1982 belonged to Little.
Police cited “the genealogical research of the DNA Doe Project” in identifying the body nearly 40 years on, with the project supplying “the names of potential living relatives, who were able to provide Frank’s name” in October.
“A close relative provided a DNA sample, which was analysed by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation Crime Lab,” the police statement adds. “His identity was then confirmed by Dr. Lisa Kohler of the Summit County Medical Examiner’s Office.”
Little’s death has now been ruled as a homicide, though police added that “not much is known about his disappearance and death”. Forensic anthropologists previously determined that Little’s remains had been sitting around for two-to-four years prior to their discovery in 1982.
“It’s definitely nice that we can give some answers to the family and hopefully they have some sense of closure,” Twinsburg Detective Eric Hendershott told WEWS. “He had a life, and ultimately he ended up here in Twinsburg, with his life taken by another.”
In a statement shared with CNN, The O’Jays said: “Frankie was a guitarist and songwriter in the very early O’Jays. He came with us when we first ventured out of Cleveland and travelled 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.”
Little’s cousin Margaret O’Sullivan was the person who confirmed to police that she’d had a cousin who’d gone missing, and that her cousin had a brother who was still living in Georgia. After obtaining a DNA sample from Little’s brother, Little’s identity was officially established.
“It’s amazing,” O’Sullivan said. “We’re glad that we have closure now. We know he’s deceased.”