Mississippi teen missing for 43 years finally identified

GULFPORT, Miss. (AP) – A Mississippi resident missing for 43 years has been identified as the unidentified teen killed in a traffic accident in Texas City, Texas, in 1973.

Harrison County Sheriff’s Investigator Kristi Johnson tells The Sun Herald Mary Raskin, mother of missing teen, Joseph Spears, ended up looking at pictures of her son’s body to positively identify him. He died on Aug. 23, 1973.

Johnson said Monday officials with the Galveston medical examiner’s office were unable to get a proper DNA sample from Spears’ body to confirm the identity. Instead, she says they called on Harrison County cold case investigators to provide all the facts they had on the case for comparison to the evidence Texas officials had on hand.

Authorities say Spears had escaped from a youth detention center on July 31, 1973.