Body Found in Fairhaven Nearly Four Decades Ago Identified as Part of DA Quinn Initiative

Press Release – Keith Olson Homicide

                On April 8, 1985, a driver traveling westbound on interstate 195 stopped in the breakdown lane in the Town of Fairhaven, just beyond the Mattapoisett town line.  Off the shoulder of the road, in the brush about 45 feet from the roadway, the driver saw a human skeleton and immediately notified police. 

                Police and crime scene personnel responded to the area and secured the scene.  A thorough search of the area resulted in the recovery of the skeletal remains of an unidentified person and other physical evidence.  Investigators did not find any information in the area related to the identity of the deceased.

The skeletal remains were sent to the FBI lab in Washington, D.C. for further examination.  The examination revealed that the skeletal remains were that of a Caucasian male, approximately 5’ 9” tall, who had been killed within a few years before his remains were discovered.  Investigators also determined that a pair of shoes found at the scene were manufactured in 1981.  The forensic analysis of the skeleton showed evidence of inflicted trauma.  The cause of death was determined to be a homicide. 

                Attempts to use dental records to compare and identify this individual with other missing persons cases were not successful.  Investigators released information to the media seeking the public’s assistance in identifying this individual.  These efforts, however, were also unsuccessful.  Left with little else to go on, investigators made a facial reconstruction of the skull to recreate the facial features and appearance of the man prior to his death.  A portrait of the recreation was distributed to the media with hopes that this would lead to an identification, but this too was unsuccessful.  Without any other available options, this individual remained unidentified for the next 38 years.

As part of District Attorney Quinn’s Unidentified Bodies Project, which is an ongoing effort to identify unidentified bodies, the Bristol District Attorney’s Office in conjunction with the Massachusetts State Police Unresolved Unit got the assistance of Othram, a private laboratory located in Texas, and the FBI’s Investigative Genetic Genealogy Team, to help identify the remains.

Despite the passage of almost 40 years, these efforts resulted in the successful development of a genetic profile from DNA evidence recovered from the skeletal remains.  With this profile, investigators were able to use forensic genetic genealogy (FGG).  FGG compares the developed profile to thousands of other DNA profiles and establishes a family tree related to the unknown individual.  After connecting this individual to a family tree, investigators were able to positively identify the recovered remains as Keith Olson of Cranston, RI.  Mr. Olson was last seen in April of 1981 and had been reported missing from Cranston.

                At the time of his disappearance Keith Olson was 27 years old.  He was born and raised in Rhode Island.  He was last seen on April 15, 1981.

At the time of his disappearance, Olson had been dating a woman.   Although Olson’s relationship with this woman was brief, it resulted in friction between Olson and North Providence resident John Broccoli, who had previously been involved in a relationship with the same woman.  A witness to Olson’s disappearance described that two men escorted Olson from his Cranston apartment.  On the same day that Olson was last seen, Broccoli made cryptic statements to the woman who had been dating Olson.  These statements suggested Broccoli’s possible involvement in this matter.  John Broccoli, who was also known as Michael Corleone, died in 2019 at the age of 63.

                Investigators are seeking the public’s assistance in providing any information related to the disappearance and murder of Keith Olson.  Police have strong reason to believe that the crime was committed by at least two people and believe that there are individuals who could provide helpful information to solve this crime.  If you have any information regarding this case, please contact: 

Massachusetts State Police -Det. Lt. AnnMarie Robertson # (855) MA-SOLVE / (855)-627-6583.


The Bristol District Attorney’s Office and the Massachusetts State Police Unresolved Unit continue to work on identifying all unidentified bodies in cooperation with many other agencies both inside and outside of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  These efforts have shown that there is still much work to be done coordinating cases of Missing Persons and Unidentified Bodies between counties and even states.  In a recent Fall River case, an unidentified man’s body was found in a landfill in 2005.  Although it was later determined that the person was a missing person in Boston, it took 17 years for the identification and connection to missing person to be made.  The Keith Olson case also shows the need for better coordination, not only between counties but between states.  To accomplish this, the Bristol County District Attorney’s Office is appealing to anyone who has a missing relative to contact Det. Lt. AnnMarie Robertson and provide a DNA sample to be included in the National Missing and Unidentified Person System (NamUs).  These samples can be used for comparison with thousands of unidentified bodies nationwide.  With the advances in technology and cooperation of many agencies across the country, It is our hope that these efforts will help identify previously unidentified human remains and provide answers in missing person cases.