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Brown County cold case solved after 20 years, body of son finally laid to rest next to his mother

Bobby Whitt and Myong Hwa
Bobby Whitt.JPG
Posted at 8:16 PM, May 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-18 23:27:48-04

SARDINIA, Ohio — Family members hadn't even realized the pair were missing - John Russell Whitt, who had been the boy's father and the woman's husband, told them his wife had taken their son and left the country in the late 90's. Saturday, the bodies of Bobby and Myong were laid to rest next to each other at the Mt. Orab Cemetery.

"It was like having a baby brother," said Bobby's first cousing Natalie Moss Teller. "I always wanted to have a brothe when I was little."

Teller grew up with Bobby and said the two were very close.

"For 20 years, we were told that Myong Hwa had turned against us and she was going to South Korea to raise Bobby and she didn't want anything to do with our family," Teller said.

Police say John Russell Whitt murdered his wife and son about 20 years ago. Their bodies were discovered in different states, but because of the level of technology at the time, couldn't be identified. Recent advances in DNA technology helped identify the bodies as well as linkning them to each other and to their family in Ohio.

"We were in shock," Teller said. "It was hard to process. I have never experienced such an extreme mix of emotions before in my life and there was a lot of disbelief."

Saturday, Bobby and Myong's family were finally able to say goodbye. Many with the family hoped they would see the two again.

"Even though your searching might decrease over the years there's always that hope and that's something that I've had to mourn along with Bobby and Myong is losing that hope," Teller said.

Major Tim Horn, the retired detective from Orange County North Carolina who helped solve the case brought Bobby's ashes to the family in person. Horn was on the scene September 25, 1998 when Bobby's remains were initially discovered.

"I was there within just a few minutes after the initiall call and I've been working on this case ever since," Horn said.

Horn came back to the case over the years.

"I kept the case file box under my desk so tahtt every time I turned around I was bumping into it, hitting it," Horn said. "It was in my way and I did that intentionally just so I couldn't forget."

When Bobby's body was finally identified, Horn decided he had to be the one to bring Bobby's remains back to his family.

"I had been with this child long before I knew his name," Horn said. "I had cared for him, looked out for his best interests, tried to solve this case."

John Russell Whitt is currently in prison, serving a sentence related to federal robbery charges. He now faces charges of murder and concealing a death.