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Drowned hitchhiker finally identified half a century after 1961 car accident

Drowned hitchhiker finally identified half a century after 1961 car accident
Brother will take part in memorial service for 15-year-old hitchhiker who escaped abusive home life

A teenage hitchhiker who was killed in an 阿拉巴马州 road accident in 1961 has been identified thanks to advanced DNA analysis half a century later.

The “unknown boy”, as he became known in the aftermath of the crash, was the subject of a weeks-long investigation that failed to identify him.

Thanks to advanced DNA analysis, he was recently identified as 15-year-old Daniel Paul Armantrout by Bibb County coroner CW West, and Identifiers International, a DNA analysis firm.

Don Hamilton, his older brother, 告诉 纽约时报 that Danny had runway from his parent’s home shortly before the crash in March 1961 because of an alcoholic father and abuse.

Mr Hamilton himself waited until the age of 17 to join the US Army, and eventually married and had children, and grandchildren. The parents of Mr Hamilton and Danny are no longer alive.

Mr West phoned Mr Hamilton last week to inform him about the finding of Danny, which caused both men to cry, 时代 报道. A memorial service is scheduled.

Danny, who was hitchhiking, drowned after the vehicle’s driver accidentally crashed into the Cahaba River, 一个 联邦调查局 report found at the time.

The driver survived but Danny did not, and was afterwards buried nearby, in Bibb County.

Alabama officials had exhumed the body of Danny in 2016 and shared DNA samples with a national database that is maintained by the FBI, the Combined DNA Index System.

Mr West, the coroner for Bibb County, only started looking at “the unknown boy” after contact from Identifinders International, a DNA analysis firm, at the beginning of this year.

DNA analysis has become more advanced since 1961 和 2016, allowing Danny’s identity and that of many victims to be found decades after crimes and accidents took place.