Man accused of murder 29 years after homicide occurred

Using DNA analysis, positive identification of the victim was made 19 years after his death
BOOKED: John Wesley Smith, 51, one count of first-degree murder
BOOKED: John Wesley Smith, 51, one count of first-degree murder(Source: Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation)
Published: Oct. 3, 2022 at 4:28 PM CDT
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McCURTAIN COUNTY, Okla. (KSLA) — Oklahoma authorities have arrested a man in connection with a homicide that occurred 29 years ago.

John Wesley Smith is being held without bond in the McCurtain County Jail in Idabel, Okla., on one count of first-degree murder.

The 51-year-old is accused of killing John Randall O’Steen in February 1993.

The investigation into O’Steen’s death began May 20, 1993, when an anonymous caller informed the McCurtain County Sheriff’s Office where his remains could be located, the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) reports. The Sheriff’s Office then asked the OSBI for help locating the remains and investigating the homicide.

After several days of searching, authorities say, the skeletonized remains of an unidentified white male were found in a wooded area south and east of Panki Bok, a community about a dozen miles east of Broken Bow in McCurtain County. The medical examiner’s officer determined the manner of death was homicide.

Based on information gathered during the investigation, Smith was identified as a potential suspect.

In 2012, a rib from the unidentified remains was sent to the University of North Texas Department of Forensic and Investigative Genetics for possible DNA identification. At that time, DNA was collected from O’Steen’s parents for comparison. OSBI said UNT compared the DNA to that of the rib bone and it was a match to O’Steen.

A warrant for Smith’s arrest was issued Friday, Sept. 30 and he was taken into custody the same date.