Thirty-two years after crime; Marion Sheriff seeks justice

By October 19, 2021 5:33 pm

MARION—Marion County Sheriff Matt Bayles had one simple request of the public today at a news conference held at the Marion County Sheriff’s Department Tuesday; “Help us get justice for John.”

In 1989, John Kraicinski, 33, left his father’s home in Galion and was never seen again.

According to Bayles, Kraicinski suffered some mental illness and had left for months at a time in the past. Bayles said he would eventually call for a family member to get him, sometimes even out of state. They expected he would call and did not report him missing to law enforcement.

The call from John Kraicinski never came, but on July 19, 1989, a call came into the Marion County Sheriffs’ Department that led them to a significantly decomposed body in Flat Run Creek on St Rt. 309.

The body, fully clothed, was a male. An autopsy conducted by the Franklin County Coroner concluded the man died shortly after he left Galion from suffocation and either a gunshot wound or an arrow with a target point.

Thanks to the dedication and hard work combined with ever-evolving forensic technology, the identification of Kraicinski began with two victim reconstruction projects. One was done by a BCI( Bureau of Criminal Investigation) recreation specialist that did not result in any useable DNA. In 2019 BCI sought out the DNA Doe project for assistance.

Trained volunteers sent the John Doe’s DNA to the International Commission for Missing Persons in The Hague, Netherlands, then used genome sequencing and ran the results through several databases to find his closest living relatives.

“When an individual takes a DNA test – a ’23 and Me,’ ‘Ancestry,’ any of the major direct-to-consumer companies, they then can download their raw data and upload to these other two sites where we have access,” said Gabriella Vargas, a genealogist for the DNA Doe Project.

The organization found a likely match and was able to do further testing to verify that the missing man had
indeed been identified.

The Kraicinski family released a statement but asked not to be contacted by the media. Sheriff Nayles read the statement on behalf of the family:

Without their endeavors, we, along with many other families, would never have located our loved one. Our family members remain hopeful that even after all these years, the truth will be revealed.”

Sheriff Bayles called on the community to help this family find closure:

“I know it’s been 32 years. I know it’s been a long time. People have moved, people have died since then. But if anyone can help us to try to get justice for John, we’d appreciate it,” he said. “If we get some tips, some people that might’ve known John may have seen John, may have been to a party with John – I don’t care what it is – back in that day… let us know so we can retrace his steps and hopefully bring justice for him.”

Bayles asked anyone with any information regarding the John Kraicinski homicide to call the Marion County Sheriff’s Office at 740-382-8244 or the Tip Line at 740-375-8477.

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