Police Name Suspect in Murder of Boy Found Strangled With Belt 50 Years Ago

Ohio police have identified the suspected killer who they believe is responsible for the murder of a 12-year-old boy who died in 1972.

Boardman Township Police Department chief Todd Werth named Jospeh Norman Hill, a former resident, as the person they believe is responsible for the death of Bradley Bellino.

Hill, who lived on Shadyside Drive in Boardman at the time of the murder, died in Yucaipa, California, in 2019, according to NBC affiliate WFMJ 21.

On Tuesday, Werth praised the efforts of former chief Jeffrey Patterson, who reopened the case in 2001, and sent Bellino’s clothing that did not have DNA that belonged to him to the state Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation.

Following a series of tests that took several years and went through numerous private firms, Werth said there was a 98.2 percent probability that Hill’s DNA was that found on Bellino.

According to WKBN 27, Werth added: “We believe there is sufficient evidence that if he were still alive, we would present his case to a grand jury.”

Project: Cold Case, an organization that aims to publicize all unsolved homicides in the U.S., said there had been 29,753 homicides in Ohio between 1972 and 2021.

Of those, 18,788 had been cleared, representing 63.15 percent of all homicides being solved in the state between those dates.

Mahoning County Prosecutor Gina DeGenova said her office looked over the file and believes the case could end up before a grand jury, according to the network.

She then praised investigators for sticking with the case over the years as DNA technology advanced and added: “Over the 50 years and they did not let go, they did not stop.”

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