Mystery Man Identified; Stole Dead Boy's Identity

Robert Ivan Nichols

CLEVELAND - U.S. Marshals crack a cold-case, at least partially.

Thursday, Marshals revealed the identity of a man who lived under the stolen identity of a 8-year-old Tulsa boy, Joseph Newton Chandler II before committing suicide in his Eastlake apartment in 2002. 

They've identified him as Robert Ivan Nichols a WWII veteran & Purple Heart recipient. 

In 1978, Nichols used the real Joseph Chandler's personal information to obtain a Social Security card in  South Dakota. Shortly thereafter, he moved to Ohio and began working at Lubrizol.

In 2014, U.S. Marshals took on the case and discovered the mystery man had been hospitalized in 2002, and tissue samples had been taken. That sample was tested by the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner to obtain a DNA profile, which received no matches in various databases.

U.S. Marshals then turned to Dr. Colleen Fitzpatrick and Dr. Margaret Press of IdentiFinders in 2016. Using Y chromosome genealogy to analyze the DNA,Fitzpatrick and Press determined that the mystery man's last name was likely Nicholas, Nichols or a variation.

In March 2018 authorities tracked down Nichols' son, Phillip, in Ohio, who provided DNA, matching that of the man who called himself Joseph Newton Chandler III.

Marshals still can't explain why he assumed the dead boy's identity.

(image courtesy Getty Images)

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