Possible victim in ‘Hog Trail Murders’ identified through DNA testing more than 25 years later

Possible victim in ‘Hog Trail Murders’ identified through DNA testing more than 25 years later

June 11, 2021

Nearly three decades after a mutilated and decomposed body was found tucked away in the woods of Southwest Florida, detectives have identified the man, who they suspect is a victim of the alleged “Hog Trail Murders” serial killer.

A local construction company worker initially made the gruesome discovery deep within the woods in northern Charlotte County and alerted authorities the morning of Feb. 1, 1994. Investigators at the time struggled to figure out his cause of death and were unable to identify the remains, so the victim for years would only be known as “John Doe #1.″

In a statement on Wednesday, some 27 years later, the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office announced that new DNA testing confirmed his actual name is Gerald Lombard, a Massachusetts man who vanished in the early 1990s. They believe he could be one of the first known victims of the so-called “Hog Trail Murders” serial killer.

Just months after Lombard was found dead, county workers discovered more remains in the area, which were also badly mutilated. As detectives combed through the area for additional evidence, they uncovered another body hidden beneath some discarded foam.

The man’s “genitals had been removed by a sharp cutting instrument” and authorities believe he’d been there for about a day before he was discovered, according to a the press release.

Similarly gruesome discoveries would be made in the area in the following two years, prompting law enforcement officials to believe a serial killer had been behind the string of slayings. While some of those bodies have since been identified, John Doe #1′s identity remained a mystery and the case went cold.

In 2013, investigators sent his tooth to a lab for analysis — a process that took nearly seven years, but in the end provided officers a list of his potential relatives, according to a news release from the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office.

Gerald Lombard

“After contacting the family, it was determined that this was a large family of seventeen siblings and one of the brothers, Gerald (Jerry) Lombard had not been seen or heard from since approximately 1991 or 1992,” a statement from the sheriff’s office read.

Authorities in the end confirmed Lombard was the victim with DNA samples from his sister, brother and son.

In 1997, Daniel Conahan was convicted for the murder of Richard Montgomery — one of four men found in the two years following the discovery of Lombard’s body. The 67-year-old is currently on death row in Florida State prison.

Authorities have asked anyone who knew Lombard or may have seen him with Daniel Conahan to call detectives at 941-639-2101.

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