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Remains of fugitive wanted by FBI identified nearly 25 years later

Authorities said Roger Dale Parham was evading trial for a rape charge in 1999 when his body was discovered in Kentucky's Lake Barkley.
Remains of fugitive wanted by FBI identified nearly 25 years later
Posted at 9:17 AM, Dec 19, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-19 11:17:22-05

More than two decades after authorities recovered the body of a man from the bottom of a Kentucky lake, police have finally discovered who that man is — and it turns out he was wanted by the FBI.

Kentucky State Police said Monday that thanks to the help of "advanced DNA technology," they were able to identify the remains of Roger Dale Parham. He went missing nearly 25 years ago while awaiting trial for alleged rape involving a minor and, until now,  his disappearance remained a mystery.

According to police, Parham's remains were discovered in 1999 by two fishermen at Kentucky's Lake Barkley, about 100 miles northwest of Nashville. The body was wrapped in heavy tire chains and weighed down by a hydraulic jack.

At the time, investigators said they were unable to identify the body using traditional investigative techniques. It wasn't until earlier this year when Kentucky State Police teamed up with a private forensics lab to do advanced genealogy DNA testing and positively identify the remains as Parham. 

"Investigators immediately began researching Parham, which led to multiple revelations," the Kentucky State Police said in a statement. "In 1999, Parham was residing in Fort Smith, Arkansas. At that time, Parham was awaiting trial on various criminal charges. In March of 1999, Parham disappeared and was thought to have left the area to flee prosecution. The FBI obtained additional charges for Mr. Parham and conducted an ongoing investigation into his whereabouts. Until now, Parham’s disappearance remained a mystery." 

Authorities said Parham's cause of death remains undetermined, but due to the suspicious circumstances in which he was found, the case has been classified as a homicide. 

Anyone with additional information about Parham's death has been asked to call the Kentucky State Police Post 1- Mayfield at 270-856-3721. Tips can also be provided at kentuckystatepolice.ky.gov/tip.


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