Dr. Jennifer Bengston addresses members of the media March 28 at the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office. Bengston, an anthropology professor at Southeast Missouri State University, with the help of her students, assisted law enforcement in identifying Jack Langeneckert, a real estate agent from Florissant who disappeared in 1982, and whose remains were found on a farm in Lincoln County in 1984
It is a mystery that is four-decades-old and has begged the question: What happened to the well-dressed real-estate agent Jack Langeneckert of Florissant who was headed to work in 1982? Not many answers other than he was 50-years-old at the time he went missing after leaving home to go show a piece of property.
Two years later, after his disappearance skeletal remains were discovered in a farm building in Lincoln County in June 1984. The cause of death was a gunshot to the back of the head.
New life, however was breathed into this cold case when Jennifer Bengston, a Southeast Missouri State Anthropology professor and two of her students teamed up with the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office. They worked together for about a year in identifying the remains.
“We inventoried the remains and did an anthropological analysis. More specifically, we focused on refining the age-at-depth estimate and we documented several unique features of the skeletal anatomy that would potentially be helpful in positive identification,” Bengston said. “We also applied some specialized, non-destructive analyses in cooperation with the Southeast Missouri State University Chemistry Department in order to identify the skeletal events that would have the best chance of yielding as usable DNA extract.”
Translation, a genealogical profile was built and sent off to Orthram Labs, a private forensic company, for testing. The result, a DNA familial match with the unidentified remains found in 1984, confirmed Langeneckert’s identify. Once the victim’s identity was established, the work of Bengston and her students was done with a final price tag of $7,000.
“I think that identifying people and returning them to their loved ones is worth every penny,” she said.
“My students and I view this as a humanitarian crisis and a human rights issue. One that we are uniquely positioned to help alleviate through the work that we do,” Bengston said.
A decade ago, Bengston said the work she and her students did in this case would have been challenging. Due to emerging technologies she says, breakthroughs in forensic DNA testing and analysis have made identifying victims easier and has opened a whole new world for cold cases.
“This is important work that we are happy to be a part of. I like to refer to it as a win-win-win situation. My students are getting incredible experience helping with real cases. Law enforcement is getting assistance and most importantly, families are finally getting answers they have been waiting for,” she said.
While the case had made strides, it is not yet solved. In some ways, the once cold case is just now heating up. The motive and suspect are still not known.
If anyone has information regarding this case, please contact the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office at 636-528-8546.
Sorry, there are no recent results for popular commented articles.