In 1982, the Twinsburg Police Department were notified that a body has been found in their town.
Sometime during that winter day, a worker at a machine shop found a skull lying within the snow. Twinsburg Police then found the body. The body was placed in garbage bag, in the woods and behind the now defunct shop. At the time, forensic anthropologist J. Lawrence Angel determined that they belonged to a Black man who was between 20 and 35 years old, and that they had been there for at least two to four years.
The original report found that facial bones were shattered, showing possible signs of trauma. That and other issues prompted the Twinsburg Police to rule it a homicide. They weren’t able to identify the body, and they never caught the perpetrators.
Fast forward to now, the body has finally been identified.
Due to the DNA Doe Project, the body of former O’Jays member Frank “Frankie” Little Jr. has been identified. They believe he was last alive in the mid-1970s. The project received DNA samples from a brother who resides in Georgia. The DNA testing revealed odds indicating it was 398,000,000 times more likely that the two men were brothers.
In the early days of R&B group The O’Jays, Frankie Little was a guitarist and songwriter for the then five piece band. He worked closely with original member Eddie Levert to craft R&B ballads like “Do the Jerk”, “Pretty Words” and “Oh, How You Hurt Me” thorough the mid-1960s. He also served in the U.S. Army for two years, including a deployment to Vietnam.
The DNA Doe Project is a non-profit organization, founded in 2017, with the “humanitarian mission to identify John and Jane Does using genetic genealogy.“ Genetic genealogists within the organization immediately tried to get in contact with remaining members of Little’s family once they found the identity. It turned out that Little had a daughter and son. The daughter passed away in 2012, and the son has yet to be located or identified. They did get in contact with one of Little’s cousins from Cleveland.
Margaret O’Sullivan was asked if she had any missing relatives.
I said yes. I have a cousin name Frankie Little is missing.
We don’t know what happened to him. We always wondered what happened, so we don’t know what happened to Frankie at all.
Elias Chan, a volunteer with DNA Doe Project, worked on the case for more than two years. Chan believes the case is “far from a slam dunk”.
According to a statement released by The O’Jays and retrieved by CNN, the band is still perturbed by the news.
He came with us when we first ventured out of Cleveland and traveled to Los Angeles, but he also was in love with a woman in Cleveland that he missed so much that he soon returned back to Cleveland after a short amount of time.
The O’Jays “wish his family and friends closure to what appears to be a very sad story.”
Eddie Levert told News 5 Cleveland, that he had lost track of Little over the years and was stunned to learn of the murder of his former band mate.
I never would have thought this would happen to him. I don’t know why anyone would do him like that.
He could have been a great entity in the music business…
With this evidence now Margaret O’Sullivan and the Little family are planning to give Frank “Frankie” Little Jr. a proper burial. The Twinsburg Police are still pursuing the case and are hoping to find out who killed Frankie Little.
Below is a rare perfomance of The O’Jays back in 1966 on the music variety show Shivaree. The footage is blurry but you may be able to see Frankie Little and The O’Jays in action.
The O’Jays – “Lipstick Traces”
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