DNA Testing Could Resolve 1972 Case

Michael Akey was 13 when he disappeared.
Michael Akey was 13 when he disappeared.

Thirty-three years ago, 13-year-old Michael Akey was reported missing. Now investigators with the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office are reopening this cold case. In order to help further the investigation, there was a court order to exhume what are believed to be Akey's remains at Beaufort National Cemetery.

After more than 33 years, Pam Trent and Kelly Williams will finally know for sure if the remains buried there are in fact those of their older brother. He went missing when in 1972. He was just 13.

"I think we need closure," said Pam. "I think it would be nice for the family to have closure."

Investigators say Akey's remains were found at White Hall Landing in 1978, six years after he disappeared.

"With some remains and a photograph, they determined it was Michael Steve Akey," said Lt. Bob Bromage. "But now that we have mitochondrial DNA available to us, it's prudent to make sure it is in fact him."

Michael's sisters have differing opinions about just who is buried here. Kelly believes it is him, while Pam told us, "I don't know. I just never thought it was him."

Now new technology when it comes to DNA testing and help from these sisters could mystery may soon be put to rest.

"I hope it's him," said Kelly.

"If it's him, justice can be served," said Pam. "If not, we'll go back looking again."

"I would hate to think he's been out there for 30 years and we don't know where he is, or that is someone else's child," said Kelly.

The remains exhumed today, along with the DNA swabs from Michael Akey's sisters, will all be sent to the FBI lab in Virginia. The testing and subsequent results will take between six months to a year to complete. Family members and investigators hope those results will help bring this case to a close.

Reported by: Jaime Dailey, jdailey@wtoc.com