After 35 years, Robert Hecht’s killer has been identified


In November 1988, detectives found 58-year-old Robert Hecht murdered in his home on Rio Togas Road in Charlotte County, Florida. Hecht had been hit on the head several times with a glass ashtray by an unknown person. During the course of the investigation, detectives learned that Hecht was last seen with a man named Ray. Detectives also discovered that Hecht’s recently purchased Lincoln was missing from his garage. It was later found abandoned in North Carolina. Despite investigators’ efforts, the person responsible for Hecht’s murder could not be identified.

Although forensic DNA technology was still in its infancy at the time of Hecht’s murder, DNA evidence was collected at the scene of the crime and preserved for future research. Years later, DNA from the crime scene was finally analyzed and an STR profile was developed and entered into the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS). Unfortunately, the CODIS search did not find a match with a known identity. With all leads exhausted and no suspect identified, the case finally went cold.

In August 2022, the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office submitted crime scene evidence to Othram in The Woodlands, Texas to determine if advanced DNA testing could help identify the suspect. Othram scientists used Forensic-Grade Genome Sequencing® to develop a comprehensive genealogical profile based on the DNA of the unknown male suspect. After the process was successfully completed, the DNA profile was delivered to the FBI’s forensic genetic genealogy team and the FBI team conducted the necessary work to generate new investigative leads in the case.

Using these new leads, law enforcement investigators met with possible relatives of the unknown suspect. As a result of their investigation, the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office was able to identify the suspect as Kenneth Ray Miller. Miller died of natural causes in 2007. Investigators learned that Miller had a lengthy criminal history, and with Miller’s identification, the investigation into Robert Hecht’s murder is officially closed.

This case represents the 22nd case in the state of Florida in which officials have publicly identified an individual who used Othram technology.

Michael Vogen

Michael Vogen

Director of Case Management

2829 Technology Forest Blvd Suite 100, The Woodlands, Texas 77381

[email protected]

Michael works with law enforcement agencies in the United States and Canada on “unsolvable” cases that could benefit from advanced DNA testing methods. He helps these agencies use advanced DNA sequencing and new forensic techniques to develop investigative leads for their cases.