The O’Jays in 1965, Frankie Little not pictured; Don Paulsen/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
Human remains discovered in 1982 in the Cleveland suburb of Twinsburg, Ohio, have been identified as Frank “Frankie” Little Jr., a one-time guitarist and songwriter for legendary soul/R&B group The O’Jays.
ABC TV affiliate News 5 Cleveland reports that Little was identified thanks to genealogical research conducted by the DNA Doe Project. In 1982, an unidentified skull and, separately, a bag containing additional body parts were discovered behind a closed business in Twinsburg, and the cause of death was determined to be homicide.
Born in Cleveland in 1943 and raised there, Little played guitar and toured with The O’Jays during the mid-1960s, and also co-wrote some of the band’s songs.
O’Jays lead singer Eddie Levert said Little was a sentimental, loving and passionate person. He recalled that Frankie moved with the group to the West Coast, but eventually decided to return to his hometown.
“He could have been a great entity in the music business, but he was in love and love drove him back to Cleveland,” Levert maintained.
While it’s unclear when Little died, detectives believe he was last seen alive around the mid-1970s. DNA from his remains were used to track down potential relatives, and one of those contacted was a cousin named Margaret O’Sullivan, who informed investigators that Frankie had gone missing years ago.
Little’s brother then was contacted, and he supplied a DNA sample that helped confirm the remains’ identity.
Frankie had a daughter who died in 2021, and there’s also a son who hasn’t been located or identified yet, police told News 5.
Twinsburg Detective Eric Hendershott, who has worked on Little’s case, says the next step is to try to figure out details of Little’s murder.
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