Partial human remains found in a garbage bag nearly 40 years ago have been identified as belonging to Frank “Frankie” Little Jr, a member of the legendary R&B band The O’Jays, according to police.
The Twinsburg Police Department in Ohio announced the news on Tuesday, saying DNA from relatives was used to help identify the remains found on February 18, 1982. Police said that not much is known about Little’s disappearance and death.
According to the documents, his identity remained a mystery for almost 40 years. In October, 2021, the DNA Doe Project provided the names of potential living relatives, who were able to provide Frank’s name. A close relative provided a DNAsample, which was analyzed by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation Crime Lab. His identity was then confirmed by Dr. Lisa Kohler of the Summit County Medical Examiner’s Office.
Frank’s partial remains were recovered in a garbage bag behind a now-closed business on Cannon Road. The remains were that of an African-American male, 20 to 35 years of age, approximately 5’6” tall, and he may have had adolescent kyphosis, a curvature of the spine. His manner of death has been ruled a homicide by Dr. Kohler.
Frank was raised in Cleveland, Ohio. He served in the US Army for two years, which included a deployment to Vietnam during the Vietnam War. Frank had a daughter who passed away in 2012, and he has a son who has not yet been located or identified. Frank was last known to reside in the area of E 105th and Superior Ave. in Cleveland, and it is believed he was last alive in the mid-1970s. Not much is known about his disappearance and death. Our sympathies to the family during this difficult time.
His identification was made through the collaborative efforts of the Twinsburg Police Department, the DNA Doe Project, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office Bureau of Criminal Investigation, and the Summit County Medical Examiner’s Office.
“Frankie was a guitarist and songwriter in the very early O’Jays,” original lead singers Eddie Levert and Walter Williams told Fox News on Wednesday. “He was sentimental, loving and passionate.”
“He came with us when we first ventured out of Cleveland and traveled to Los Angeles, but he also was in love with a woman in Cleveland who he missed so much that he soon returned to Cleveland after a short amount of time,” they shared. “That was in the mid-1960s, and we had not heard from him after then. Although this is a tragic ending, we wish his family and friends closure to what appears to be a very sad story.”
The O’Jays, originally from Canton, Ohio, were formed in 1958 and originally consisting of Eddie Levert (born June 16, 1942), Walter Lee Williams (born August 25, 1943), William Powell (January 20, 1942 – May 26, 1977), Bobby Massey (born 1942, Canton) and Bill Isles (January 4, 1941 – March 28, 2019).
In the early 1960s, member Frankie joined the group as a guitarist and songwriter. He worked with lead vocalist Eddie Levert, assisting with some of the writing for the group, including 1964’s “Do the Jerk,” 1966’s “Pretty Words,” and 1967’s “Oh, How You Hurt Me”. He is also credited with vocals on 1962’s “Down at the Corner”. According to Walter Williams, “Frankie was a guitarist and songwriter in the very early O’Jays. He came with us when we first ventured out of Cleveland and traveled to Los Angeles, but he also was in love with a woman in Cleveland that he missed so much that he soon returned back to Cleveland after a short amount of time.”
The O’Jays went on to create such memorable hits such as “Back Stabbers”, “Love Train”, “Put Your Hands Together” (Pop number 10), “For the Love of Money” (Pop number 9), “Give the People What They Want”, “Let Me Make Love to You”, “I Love Music” (Pop number 5), “Livin’ for the Weekend”, “Message in Our Music”, and