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Murder of 2 Oregon teen hitchhikers solved 43 years later

Western Wildfires
Posted at 1:13 PM, Jan 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-12 13:13:27-05

The murder of two Oregon teen hitchhikers has been solved 43 years later, thanks to the help of DNA technology and genetic genealogy.

On Nov. 17, 1978, the skeletal remains of Kirk Leonard Wiseman, 19, and Cynthia Lynn Frayer, 17, and a small dog were found in a wooded area near Lake of the Woods in Klamath County.

According to People, both teens had been shot multiple times in the head with a small-caliber firearm.

KPIC reported that there was also evidence that Frayer had been sexually assaulted.

The case went cold until 2018 when investigators sent evidence to the Oregon State Police crime lab, Fox 26 reported.

Male DNA found on Frayer's clothing didn't get any hits in the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS), so they submitted it to Parabon NanoLabs, which uses DNA and genealogy technology to help law enforcement solve decades-old crimes.

In the summer of 2021, Parabon gave investigators a viable suspect name, Ray Whitson Jr., a Klamath Falls lumber mill worker who died in 1996.

The Klamath County District Attorney's office announced the long-awaited news on Thursday that the case had been solved.

Investigators said Whitson moved to the Klamath Falls area in 1978.

Family members also confirmed that Whitson carried around a .22 caliber pistol, the same type of gun used in the slayings.

If Whitson were still alive today, the Klamath County District Attorney said they would have enough to charge, the outlets reported.