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DNA test proves Australian man was actually American teen who murdered parents and escaped prison

DNA test proves Australian man was actually American teen who murdered parents and escaped prison

You think you know someone...

US law enforcers found that a man living in Australia turned out to have a rather unexpected history.

William Leslie Arnold had been living in Australia for several decades and had become known as a 'beloved family man' during his life there.

He'd even become a successful businessman and built quite the life for himself.

However, all this came crashing down when a DNA test revealed a shocking and wholly unexpected part of Arnold's past.

He died in 2010, leaving behind a loving family and was never discovered within his own lifetime.

It turns out that as a teenager in 1959, Arnold had shot both of his parents dead over a dispute over the family car back in his native home of Nebraska in the United States, before burying their bodies in the back garden.

William Leslie Arnold later in life.
US Marshals Service/Nebraska State Penitentiary

He was just 16-years-old at the time, and proceeded to go back to school as though nothing had happened.

Two weeks later he was arrested and eventually pleaded guilty to both of the killings, resulting in him being handed a life sentence at the Nebraska State Penitentiary.

Despite becoming a model prisoner during his time behind bars, Arnold staged a jailbreak some eight years later in 1967. Investigations later revealed that he is likely to have moved to Chicago. Eventually, investigators found that he had got married and begun using an alias, John Damon.

He then moved to New Zealand with his second wife, and then Australia, where he would go on to die aged 67 after building a complete new life.

His loved ones were completely unaware of his past, with his stepdaughter Kelly telling The Omaha World-Herald: "It's a total shock. Mindblowing."

A much younger Arnold.
US Marshals Service/Nebraska State Penitentiary

Another stepdaughter, Shawn, said: “A lot of things that didn’t make sense or were uncomfortable now make sense. We all need to work our way through it, and that’s what we’re doing.”

Detectives are still puzzled over how Arnold managed to evade recapture after his escape and establish a false identity strong enough to move to a different country.

HIs identity was only fully established following a DNA test, which involved a comparison between a man from Australia believed to be Arnold's son, and a sample from Arnold's family member - they were, of course, a match.

Deputy US Marshal Matt Westover, the one who cracked the case, said: “Even though it’s solved, it’s still a mystery. You want to fill in the other pieces of the puzzle.”

How Arnold managed to escape and move across the world will perhaps forever be a mystery.

Featured Image Credit: US Marshals Service/Nebraska State Penitentiary

Topics: Crime, US News, Australia, News