FLINT, MI -- Human remains discovered nearly 40 years ago, miles apart in two separate states, have been positively linked to a Michigan man and woman. Police believe the pair, identified as James Hendricks of Flint and Kimberlin Mills of Millington, was murdered by the same suspect.
The Michigan State Police (MSP) Missing Persons Coordination Unit credits, in part, new fingerprint matching technology that allows for comparison using lower quality or even single digit samples. Previous technology required higher quality prints from both hands, which were not available in this case.
The remains of Hendricks and Mills were both found on June 17, 1978, but 12 miles apart in Missouri and Arkansas respectively. Neither was reported missing from Michigan at the time. Hendricks, a parole absconder, was thought to have fled the state with his girlfriend Mills.
The first investigative break came in May 2017 when Missouri State Highway Patrol investigators re-ran samples from their case using the new fingerprint matching technology, which associated with Hendricks’ fingerprints on file with the Michigan Department of Corrections.
The Wexford County Sheriff’s Department notified the Hendricks family, now living in the Cadillac area and learned of Mills. Members of the MSP Caro Post contacted the Mills family and a new missing persons case was opened. Family reference DNA was collected from a brother in Maine and sent to the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) lab at the University of North Texas to be uploaded into the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) and compared against the Arkansas unsolved human remains case. The Arkansas State Crime Lab, State Medical Examiner confirmed Mills’ identification in December 2017.