The Investigation

By Amelia Carpenter

“Somebody has information, we know that,” Detective Frank Smith, a partner at the Butler County Cold Case Unit in Hamilton, Ohio, said. “Either out of fear or they just don’t want to be involved anymore, they do not want to share that information.”

Smith has been a detective for 30 years.

Tammen’s case is now the oldest cold case in the Cold Case Unit.

“We actually got involved in Tammen’s case back in 2003,” Smith said.

The Cold Case Unit, comprised of Smith and his colleague, pursues homicides more than five years old that have not been solved.

“Back in 2005, (we) met with Miami University and started investigating his disappearance,” Smith said. “At that point it was a full-fledged investigation.”

Smith said the investigation dealt with everything from acquiring records from Miami University, the county coroner, Oxford Police Department, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

“The case is open, we have met with his family — his sister who lives in Cleveland,” Smith said. “(We’ve) obtained DNA from her and in late 2008 we were able to get DNA entered into the NCIC through the FBI.”

Once the DNA is entered, many options open up not only for Ron, but missing persons and unidentified remains across the country.

“If in the event that Tammen show up anywhere where he would have his DNA entered or a sibling, child, whatever … we would be able to have a lead on it,” Smith said.

The DNA from Marcia Tammen would have a certain amount the same as Ron’s, and if Ron has a child, then his or the child’s DNA would come up as a match, according to Smith. Smith said means to have DNA taken would be arrest records, some aspects of government work and the military.

Smith said the process takes a year to a year and a half. Smith said he marveled at the technology compared to 1953, when Ron went missing.

“Look back fifty years ago … Police work in the 50’s and 60’s and to a certain point to the 70’s, (law enforcement would) put out a flyer and hopefully (the missing person) showed up,” Smith said.

Technology allows DNA testing to be done, and once entered into the national database, called NamUs, law enforcement has more information to base off of cases.

Click here to see The Doe Network case file online.


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