Authorities Identify Skull, Torso Found in Illinois River

Jan 28, 2020

Peoria County Sheriff Brian Asbell said a skull and torso found separately in the Illinois River three years ago have been positively identified.

A headless, limbless torso was found in the river in Schuyler County near Browning in November 2016. A skull found on the riverbank in Kingston Mines in June 2017 was later matched to the torso using DNA samples. 

The man was identified as John H. Frisch, who had addresses in both Peoria and Hawaii on record. 

Asbell said the body parts were sent to different forensic anthropologists at the University of New Hampshire and University of Illinois. Researchers with the DNA Doe Project were able to identify a "strong candidate" through forensic genealogy. 

Recently, Peoria County Coroner Jamie Harwood was able to confirm that guess by matching dental records in Hawaii to the skull.

Harwood said Frisch died from blunt force head trauma. Asbell described his murder as a "horrific crime" where Frisch's body was dismembered and thrown into the Illinois River. 

Frisch was never reported missing. His parents are dead, and he has "very limited" family in the Peoria area. 

Investigators are attempting to trace Frisch's final days.