FLINT, Mich. — Collaboration between several law enforcement agencies led to the remains of a Michigan couple being identified nearly 40 years after their bodies were found near the Missouri-Arkansas border.
The remains of James Hendricks of Flint were found in Missouri in June 1978. The remains of his girlfriend, Kimberlin Mills of Millington, were discovered 12 miles away in Arkansas. Hendricks was 21 at the time of his death, and Mills was 19. Police said their bodies were found with evidence of gunshot wounds.
Neither was reported missing from Michigan at the time, Michigan State Police said. Hendricks was a parole absconder and thought to have fled with Mills.
Missouri State Highway Patrol investigators re-ran samples from the case using new fingerprint matching technology in May, which identified Hendricks’ fingerprints on file with the Michigan Department of Corrections. The previous identification system needed higher quality prints from both hands, which weren’t available in this case.
The Wexford County Sheriff’s Department contacted the Hendricks family and learned about Mills. The Arkansas State Crime Lab identified Mills in December after collecting family reference DNA.
“The technology today is so far advanced compared to what it was in 1978 — it does not surprise me that it was left unsolved for so long,” said Michigan State Police Detective Sgt. Sarah Krebs. “There are many more cases like this out there.”
While no arrests have been made in the case, police believe the pair was killed by the same suspect. The case remains under investigation.