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Possible Victim of Infamous Hog Trail Murders Has Been Identified via DNA Test after 27 Years

Junie Sihlangu
Jun 11, 2021
05:20 P.M.
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Someone who might have been a victim of the Hog Trail Murders has been identified using DNA tests. The 90s victim was named John Doe #1 by the police 27 years ago.

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On February 1, 1994, a Charlotte construction company worker called the County Sheriff’s Office to report that they’d found a human body. The body was in the woods near Tulip Street and Wyandotte Avenue.

The Sheriff’s Major Crimes Detectives attended to the call and confirmed that a decomposing body was found in northern Charlotte County. Forensics personnel performed a crime scene investigation.

Police are working on piecing together the link between Gerry Lombard and Daniel O. Conahan on June 9, 2021 | Photo: Twitter/@DaniCHurtado_

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The body didn’t have any identification, and the cause of death was also undetermined. So authorities gave the body a temporary name by calling it John Doe #1, then two years later, another body was found.

On April 17, 1996, human remains were discovered by two county workers in Willow Drive and Trembly Avenue in northern Charlotte County. Yet again, human body parts were found decomposed.

A picture of Gerry “Jerry” Lombard who went missing in the 90s | Photo: Twitter/@CCSOFLSheriff

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Authorities searched the wooded area for more body parts and found another body. The human body had been there for around one day, and it looked like the victim was strangled.

The person was identified as Richard Montgomery of Punta Gorda. The Medical Examiner concluded that both bodies were homicide victims, and the decomposed body was ultimately identified as Kenneth Smith of Ft. Myers.

A Charlotte County Department detective discussed how they’ve identified John Doe #1 in the Hog Trail Murders on June 9, 2021 | Photo: Twitter/@DaniCHurtado_

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The Joe Doe body and the two others were around 2600 feet apart and a half-mile apart. After the first body was found in 1994, and before the ones discovered in 1996, two other bodies were discovered in North Port.

There appeared a link between all the victims. An investigative task force was formed, and Daniel O. Conahan, 42 at the time, was identified as a suspect in what they termed serial killings called the Hog Trail Murders.

An image of Daniel O. Conahan in chains as he was convicted for one murder. Image shared on June 10, 2021 | Photo: Twitter/@mysuncoast

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He was arrested, tried, and convicted for the murder of Richard Montgomery and sentenced to death. O. Conahan is currently on death row at Florida State Prison, and he's considered a suspect in the John Doe case.

The Cold Case Team recently reopened the John Doe matter and decided to use genealogy resources. Potential relatives of the victim were found, and of seventeen siblings, one person, Gerald "Jerry" Lombard, was missing.

On the left a sketch of what John Doe #1 might have looked like and his actual photo on the right on June 10, 2021 | Photo: Twitter/@DatelineNBC

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He hadn’t been seen or heard from since around 1991 or 1992. In April 2021, the Cold Case Team obtained DNA samples from Lombard’s sister, brother, and son and matched them against his DNA.

Lombard’s son was a positive match to him, and after 27 years, John Doe #1’s body was finally identified. On August 30, 1962, he was born in Massachusetts and was a drifter who had lived in Lowell.

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