Body ID’d after 21 years

YOUNGSTOWN – The victim of a decades-old cold case homicide has been identified.

According to the Mahoning County Coroner’s Office a body found at an Austintown truck stop in 1992 have been identified as Sharon Lynn Kedzierski.

Kedzierski’s partially nude body was found on Clarkins Drive in Austintown on April 9, 1992, near the Universal Truck Mall by a woman who was walking her dog.

Austintown police Chief Robert Gavalier said on Sunday that they have been aware for several days that the remains have been identified.

“We have been waiting for the family to be contacted before determining what may be done with new leads we have,” Gavalier said. “We really have not begun a new investigation.”

An autopsy done shortly after the discovery determined she died of blunt force injuries of the head, and her death was ruled a homicide. Although fingerprints were submitted to the FBI, dental comparisons were made and composite sketches were distributed to law enforcement agencies, no identification was made.

All that changed in 2010, however, after coroner investigator Courtney Bouchie sent case information and DNA samples to the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System. As luck would have it, Kedzierski’s daughters had submitted their DNA to the system, which lead to the match and identification.

Gavalier said investigators do not know whether Kedzierski was killed in Austintown or if the body was dropped off at the truck stop.

“There were a number of bodies found at truck stops during that time,” he said.

In a missing persons report, Kedzierski’s daughter identified her as having brown hair, blue eyes and scars or marks on her lower abdomen. According to reports, she was last seen in Miami Lakes, Fla., about Oct. 25, 1989, while visiting friends. She was 43 years old at the time.

When the body was found, she was wearing a blue short-sleeve shirt, one white tube sock and men’s brief-style underwear. A gray baseball cap was found nearby as was a ladies tan, calf-length boot.

The National Missing and Unidentified Persons System is a part of a larger program designed to help identify missing people through DNA technology. It uses experts on the local, state and national level.

It has been estimated that there are approximately 40,000 unidentified human remains nationwide.

Austintown police will be working with other law enforcement agencies in the investigation, Gavalier said.