An Iowa cold case, unsolved since the 1970s, came to a shocking conclusion this week thanks to new DNA evidence from a California serial killer case.

CBS2 reports that the news is finally bringing closure to the family of Michael Ray Schlicht, who was just 17 years old when he went missing in April of 1974. Officials with the Orange County Sheriff's Department say that it now appears that the Cedar Rapids native was likely one of the first victims of one the most prolific serial killers in U.S. history.

Schlicht's body was found by authorities in September of 1974 on the side of the road in Laguna Hills. Authorities couldn't figure out who he was at the time, and according to CBS2 determined his death to be an accidental overdose. But in 1980, police began to classify similar deaths in the area as homicides.

Eventually, Randy Steven Kraft, who would later be known as the Scorecard Killer, was arrested for murder in 1983, according to CBS2. His final victim was dead in the passenger seat of his car. Authorities would also find a coded list in Kraft's vehicle that correlated to more than 67 victims.

Kraft was convicted of 16 murders and sentenced to death in 1989. CBS2 reports that he sits on death row to this day. Orange County police believed their John Doe, who we now know was Schlicht, was one of Kraft's early victims. According to CBS2, investigators spent decades trying to identify him.

Fast forward to just two years ago. CBS2 reports that police submitted samples to help develop a DNA profile. That profile was then sent to a cold case team. Using a genealogy database, investigators were able to build a family tree. Investigators first were able to identify Schlicht's grandparents, according to CBS2. Then, his sister, who hadn't seen her brother since April of 1974.


CBS2 reports that investigators were finally able to meet with Schlicht's mother in Kansas City, and were able to positively identify him with the use of her DNA. Authorities said that they notified family members of the results on Tuesday, finally bringing closure after nearly a half-century.

Orange County investigators are now turning their attention towards Schlicht's homicide case, while his family works on getting him a headstone to mark his final resting place.

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