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New technology helps ID victim in 35-year-old cold murder case


From the Parker County Sheriff's Dept.

The victim of a 35-year-old cold murder case has been identified.

Parker County Sheriff Larry Fowler said the victim’s family was notified Monday, Dec. 23, when the Sheriff’s Office received confirmation of the victim’s identity.

“It’s bittersweet for the family,” Fowler said. “Although we will continue with our investigation until a suspect has been arrested and convicted, identifying the victim gives the family a sense of closure.”

Sheriff’s Criminal Investigations Major Crimes Division Sgt. Ricky Montgomery is the supervisor handling all cold case investigations. Montgomery said the victim’s skeletal remains were found in 1985 in a shallow grave west of FM 51 just north of Veal Station Road.

Sheriff’s investigators determined the grave was dug sometime in the fall of 1984. Numerous tips were investigated over the years but none provided solid evidence and the case eventually went cold without a positive identification of the victim.

Sgt. Montgomery has followed various leads on the case for many years. In 2015, a forensic composite sketch of the victim was created by experts at the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office. Sgt. Montgomery said the sketch was distributed to local media in hopes of generating additional tips about the case. Unfortunately, none of the tips received led to an arrest or the identity of the victim.

In February 2018, a break came in the case when Sgt. Montgomery was contacted by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), advising him that the case had been selected by NCMEC to be a test case using new DNA technology developed by Parabon Laboratories in identifying victims from cold murder cases. 

The DNA samples collected would lead forensic experts to the victim’s probable hair color, eye color, skin tone, and even freckles using DNA Phenotyping. Dr. CeCe Moore oversaw the testing by Parabon Labs, generating a color composite of the victim which led to several additional leads.

Dr. Moore then submitted DNA to Gedmatch, and began conducting an investigation involving family history as a result of DNA matches in their system.

Additional leads were developed, pointing investigators toward the identification of possible family members on the east coast.

Sgt. Montgomery reached out to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which agreed to assist in the investigation by obtaining a family reference sample from likely family members of the victim.

Montgomery interviewed the family members, who provided information which coincided with the events of the case. Montgomery later submitted the DNA family reference sample to the University of North Texas (UNT) laboratory for comparison to the skeletal remains of the victim. On Dec. 22, 2019, the results returned.

The DNA comparisons were verified by experts at the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office, that the remains were those of William “Billy” Arthur Fiegener.

Sgt. Montgomery personally notified the victim’s family Monday.

“Notifying family members is never an easy task,” said Sheriff Fowler. “We pray laying Billy to rest will bring the family peace.”

Anyone with information regarding this case is encouraged to contact the Parker County Sheriff’s Office at 817-596-8845, or the Parker County Crime Stoppers Hotline at 817-599-5555. You may remain anonymous when contacting Crime Stoppers.

Crime Stoppers will pay up to a $1,000 reward for any information leading to the arrest and indictment of the suspects involved.



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