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Sheriff credits podcast after 1975 cold case victim, formerly known as "Mr. X," is identified

Meet the DNA "detective" who helped solve a decades-old cold case
Meet the DNA "detective" who helped solve a decades-old cold case 04:53

The cold case of a man known as "Mr. X" has seen a significant breakthrough after nearly half a century, South Carolina police said Monday.

The Greenville County Sheriff credits a true crime podcast — "Murder, Etc." — for drawing attention to the case, which dates back to 1975 when the remains of "Mr. X" were found by a hunter in the South Carolina city. The remains were "found wrapped in a sheet and smoldering, indicating that they had been set on fire," the sheriff's department said in a news release Monday. The death was ruled a homicide, with the man subject to blunt force trauma and strangulation. Police were unable to identify him despite "numerous outreach efforts over the years." 

Then in 2020, Greenville Sheriff Hobart Lewis "revamped" the town's cold case unit to focus on re-examining cases with new technology. Since then, 11 cases have been solved, the sheriff's department said. 

The cold case unit was able to identify the man known as "Mr. X" as Oscar James Nedd of White Plains, New York. Nedd was born in Georgia in April 1951 and later moved to New York for college, the department said. 

Oscar James Nedd. Flood, Ryan/Greenville County Sheriff's Office

The podcast "Murder, Etc." covered his case in a live episode in 2020.  

Investigators from the sheriff's office worked with the county coroner's office that same year to exhume the body from where it had been buried, and sent some of the remains to the National Unidentified and Missing Persons System for DNA testing. A DNA profile was created for the victim in that database. In February 2024, the White Plains Police Department contacted investigators to say the profile matched Nedd's missing persons case filed there. 

Family members were contacted and investigators were able to confirm Nedd's identity.

"The tireless work and innovative approaches employed by our investigators have brought closure to a case that has remained a mystery for nearly five decades," Lewis said in the news release. "Their determination to seek justice for victims and their families is truly commendable. I want to thank each member of our cold case unit for their hard work and commitment."

It's believed that Nedd was killed in New York, the sheriff's department said. CBS News affiliate WSPA reported that the remains were then transported to South Carolina. White Plains authorities are now investigating the homicide. 

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