David Hill, a captain with the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department and head of its cold case unit, discusses at a press conference March 29 the identification of remains found in rural Troy nearly 40 years ago. Through genetic sequencing, the remains were identified as Jack Langeneckert, pictured far left. Also pictured above is (from left) Lincoln County Prosecuting Attorney Mike Wood, Detective Alyssa Erson, Hill, Undersheriff Randy Lambert, and retired investigator Kenneth Schulte.
LINCOLN COUNTY - He was a man who took pride in his appearance. Even when photographed at a picturesque river bluff on a casual sunny day, he was well dressed with a collared shirt and fashionable jacket.
So when the 52-year-old real estate agent told his wife he was leaving their Florissant home to show a piece of property to a prospective buyer, he was as expected, dressed for the occasion.
More than two years later, he would be best known for those clothes he was wearing, including a pinstripe suit and tie, dress shoes, and a cashmere coat after his badly decomposed remains were found by a farmer in a pumphouse in rural Lincoln County. With only skeletal remains, no identification, and limited technology, all investigators had to go on was a general description of a man about 6 feet tall, between the ages of 40-80, of European ancestry … and of course the clothes.
That all changed four weeks ago though when that well-dressed man was matched with a name: Jack Langeneckert.
At a press conference Wednesday, March 28, Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department detectives announced the identification in the cold case that is nearly 40 years old.
According to Capt. David Hill, who heads the department’s cold case unit, Langeneckert told his wife he was going to show a home Tuesday, March 9, 1982. She never spoke to him again, and a week later, his car was found parked at Lambert Airport.
Hill said they found no indication Langeneckert had purchased a plane ticket or had any reason to fly out of town.
“That’s a big question we are still trying to find an answer to,” Hill said when asked why Langeneckert’s car was at the airport.
While answering one question on the cold case, the who, Hill indicated countless others surfaced as a result.
“One of the interesting things about cold cases that are this old is you have to rebuild their lives,” Hill said. “Who did they hang out with? Who are their friends? Where did they work? What did they do?”
Beyond his cause of death, Hill indicated they have no idea as to the why he was murdered or who might have done it.
Hill has started to get some answers by locating Langeneckert’s family, which ironically, is how they were able to identify his remains.
Thanks to a collaboration with an anthropology class at Southeast Missouri State University and a private DNA lab, Langeneckert was identified through genetic profiles of his relatives that matched his genetic sequence.
Hill said Langeneckert was a husband, father and uncle and that detectives had spoken directly with his wife and son.
And while his wife has moved on with her life, remarrying, Hill said the news still had a tremendous impact, rendering her nearly immobile.
“I thought we might have to carry her in,” Hill recalled. “She was obviously very emotional … but appreciative to finally have that closure.”
As they continue to try and reconstruct Langeneckert’s life just before he was murdered more than 40 years ago, Hill is hoping someone will remember the affable real estate agent and provide invaluable insight into who he was.
“That’s a big reason we had this,” Hill said referring to the press conference. “Someone who knew Jack, who can provide insight into his life; we need to hear from that person.”
Anyone with information can contact the sheriff’s office at 636-528-8546 or by Detective Alyssa Erson at email@example.com. Anonymous tips can be submitted to the sheriff’s office website at lcsomo.gov.
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