PEORIA, Ill. — Peoria County officials on Tuesday revealed they were able to identify a skull that washed up on the shore of the Illinois River back in 2017.
Peoria County Sheriff Brian Asbell said his office (PCSO) recovered the skull in Kingston Mines. A DNA sample was then given to the Illinois State Police Crime Lab, which later informed the PCSO that a positive match was made from another DNA sample found in CODIS, a DNA database.
Some people live different lifestyles and they don’t have many friends or aquaintances but it’s a piece that’s make us scratch our heads and it’s a why question. Why hasn’t this been reported? So that’s an angle we’re looking at. It’s a terrible situation. We have someone that died under horrific circumstances with what they did to his body. So, any cas that we work, we want to find closure for family, friends, or even our community.Brian Asbell, Sheriff | Peoria County Sheriff Department
This sample was from a torso that was recovered from the Illinois River in Schuyler County in November 2016 that the Illinois State Police was investigating. ISP investigators and Peoria County investigators have worked together on identifying the John Doe. Peoria County Det. Hoffman eliminated every reported missing person in the United States using identifiers and DNA from Doe, Asbell said.
Since obtaining this information, the skull and torso were sent to two separate forensic anthropologists, at the University of Illinois and the University of New Hampshire, which were both able to process the remains in attempts to help identify the unknown man. Asbell said detectives worked with DNA Doe Project and they were able to give detectives a strong candidate through forensic genealogy.
He was not showing up in these databases. So this was just recently that maybe his distant family member actually uploaded [DNA] and that’s what we got the hit on.Chris Watkins, Captian | Peoria County Sheriff’s Department
Peoria County Coroner Jamie Harwood and his staff were able to confirm Doe’s identity by dental records from Hawaii; he was identified as John H. Frisch, who would have been 56 years old when his body was located in Schuyler County. Harwood ruled the cause of death as blunt force head trauma.
“This was a horrific crime that occurred where John Frisch’s body was dismembered after his death and found in the Illinois River,” Asbell said.
Frisch had never been reported missing and used addresses in both Peoria and Hawaii throughout his life. Asbell said investigators are retracing Frisch’s days prior to his body being found, and he has limited family in the area.
Frisch is listed in Peoria County’s court record database several times, including for unrelated charges of resisting a peace officer, theft, aggravated assault, obstruction of justice, and more.
If anyone has any information on Frisch, Asbell is encouraging them to call Det. Hoffman at (309) 657-5532, Lt. Dan Corpus at (309) 258-7160, or Crime Stoppers at (309) 673-9000.
Watch the full press conference below:
This story will be updated.