PITTSBORO, N.C. (WTVD) -- The body of a man found 43 years ago in Pittsboro has been identified as Alexander "Alex" Brown Jr.
The North Carolina Unidentified Project played a major role in identifying Brown. The group was created in 2020 by Dr. Ann Ross and Leslie Kaufman to help solve cold cases involving unidentified victims.
A missing person report was filed for Brown 43 years ago in December of 1978 in Baltimore.
Early investigations were limited due to the lack of basic information or viable clues, but Chatham County Sheriff's Office has now been able to identify the victim thanks to advancements in DNA technology. Brown's body was found in Pittsboro in 1981; although nobody knew it was Brown until recent testing found a DNA link between the body and a surviving member of Brown's family.
"The excitement in the room was palpable," says Lieutenant Sara Pack of the Chatham County Sheriff's Office.
Kaufman's results were later confirmed through expert medical examination, making Alexander Brown, Jr., the fifth victim to be positively identified by the NC Unidentified Project so far. Investigators stress that this does not mean the investigation into Brown's death is over.
"I have worked on criminal cases all over the country, but cases involving unidentified bodies really speak to my heart," explains Kaufman. "These men and women deserve to have their names known and their stories told... That's what drives me to do what I do."
The Chatham County Sheriff's Office is now asking other members of the public to partner in the search for answers surrounding Brown's disappearance and untimely death.
"Identifying the victim has given us a new launch point and fresh leads to follow," says Chatham County Sheriff Mike Roberson. "We are endlessly grateful for all of the hard work and partnerships that led to this amazing revelation! We are hopeful that such technology will lead to similar breakthroughs in other unsolved cases."
This investigation remains ongoing. Anyone with information about this case, including Brown's disappearance or murder, is asked to call the Chatham County Sheriff's Office at 919-542-2911.