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Case Files: The Fostoria Murder Of Jeffrey Risner

Case Files: The Murder Of Jeffrey Risner
Published: Nov. 3, 2021 at 11:02 AM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Fostoria Police are hoping to use the latest forensic technology to help solve a 15-year old cold case murder.

It was March 2006 when police say 50-year-old Jeffrey Risner failed to pick up his granddaughter for school as he did every day.

“A family member went to the house to try to find him and that’s when he was found deceased in the garage,” Fostoria Police Captain Patrick Brooks said.

Brooks said Risner died a violent death.

“He had severe bruising on his face,” he said. “Defensive bruising on his arms and on his forearms. It appeared that it was a very violent confrontation that he was involved in.”

But the coroner’s report shows that Risner didn’t die from the physical beating. His throat had been slashed several times, causing him to bleed to death.

In their search for suspects, police say there were no immediate clues, but the attack did not appear to be random at the Palmer Street home.

“It does not appear that it was any kind of a blitz attack or stranger spur of the moment thing it appears that he did know who the person was,” Brooks said.

And police say it had to be someone of good size because Risner was about 6 feet tall and 250 pounds.

There were reportedly some tensions between Risner and a male friend who was living with him at the time, but police say he was ruled out.

“We were able to develop some DNA evidence and that person was excluded as a suspect,” Brooks said.

And it’s that DNA profile that police say will be the key to furthering the investigation in this case. They obtained a solid DNA sample of an unknown male suspect. In 2013 it was run through the national CODIS database, but there were no matches to criminals in the system.

“That was a big letdown,” Brooks said. “This is a case that we have wanted to get solved for over a decade and we have not been able to bring it to closure.”

However, the latest advances in DNA technology will allow detectives to use the sample to run forensic genealogy. “We’re hoping that genealogy profiling will give us that kind of a lead that we will be able to narrow the individual as the source contributor of the DNA that was left at the scene.”

Police say this type of forensic science will be able to give them a composite of the suspect and trace the ancestry to their identity.

“That’s our job is to bring closure and justice for the victim,” Brooks said. “It’s our job to identify the perpetrator who took his life who took him away from his family ... his children, grandchildren, it is our job to work on behalf of that victim to bring that person to justice.”

If you have any information that can help Fostoria Police solve this case you’re asked to call the Fostoria Police Department at 419-435-8573 or email them at Fostoriapolicedepartment@gmail.com

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