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[Case Resolution] Ralph Eric Hutcher Identified

IMF joins the Huntsville Police Department's Cold Case Unit and Ceartas Forensics to share that after years of relentless pursuit, advanced technology, and the expertise of forensic genealogy, the Huntsville Police Department has successfully identified human remains discovered in 2008 as Ralph Eric Hutcher, a Texan and Vietnam War veteran.

Ralph Eric Hutcher's story, shrouded in mystery since 2002 when he last connected with his family at the age of 52, has finally been pieced together. This investigation began when a group of surveyors stumbled upon the remains in a densely wooded area off Old Highway 20 in Huntsville-annexed Limestone County, Alabama in 2008. Personal items found at the scene, such as a lighter, binoculars, a pocketknife, prescription glasses, and a fleece jacket were then shared with the public, with the hope of connecting these clues to a name and a story.

In May of 2021, a significant turning point was reached in the case when the IMF laboratory with collaboration from Cristy Kissel, a forensic genealogist with Ceartas Forensic Services and the Huntsville Police Department successfully utilized the Forenseq Kintelligence kit to provide a forensic investigative genetic genealogy profile. Armed with this breakthrough, Ceartas Forensic Services were able to utilize this result to lead investigators to believe that the remains could be that of Mr. Hutcher. In July 2023, the FBI's laboratory confirmed his identity.

We would like to thank the Huntsville Police Department, Ceartas Forensic Services and the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Laboratory for their tireless work to close this case. We are honored and humbled to be a part of this effort to reclaim Ralph Eric Hutcher's name for himself, his family and his loved ones.

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