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Jan 26, 2021

On October 10 1996, a 65 year-old retired eyeglass maker named Otha Young, Jr., who had been admitted to a hospital in his hometown of Louisville Kentucky for a medical episode related to his Alzheimer’s - against the advice of the attending physicians and staff – checked himself out of the hospital, got in his car and headed north on Interstate 75.  Along the way he was stopped by law enforcement and issued a traffic citation, and because he was driving without a license, the car was left on the side of the road and Young checked in to a Best Western hotel near the Northern Kentucky town of Florence later that day.  And that was the last documented evidence of Otha Young’s existence.  He disappeared without a trace.  His car was found very quickly by his daughter the next day – where it had been abandoned in an emergency lane along the highway.  But no Otha Young.  And no evidence of any kind as to what happened to him – it didn’t take long for the case to go cold.  Then eight years later, in November 2004, skeletal remains, clothing, a hotel key card and some other non-identifying personal items were found by city workers cleaning a storm drain about 30 feet from the highway.  It took the better part of a year before some excellent police work determined that the remains belonged to Otha Young Jr. – and that he had been murdered.  The case has been in active investigation mode ever since, with some fascinating clues emerging along the way – but it’s still more of a mystery than it is anywhere near close to solved.  Enter Virginia Braden, a Kentucky-based private investigator who has taken an interest in several cold cases over the years and has made it her mission to bring some comfort to families and loved ones of missing persons and unsolved murder victims.  Of all her cases, Braden has made the Otha Young Jr. murder investigation her greatest cause.  And there are some fascinating facts that have emerged along the way – as she describes it, it’s like a jigsaw puzzle, and there are scattered pieces just waiting for their companion pieces to be found, to fill in and solve it.  Join Melissa for her fascinating discussion with fascinating Virginia Braden – Melissa’s special guest this week – whose personal story is as compelling as any of the cases she follows.  In addition to her work as a P.I., she is also the author of multiple books, including “Life is Hard…Here’s Some Help,” which Melissa discusses (and raves about) on this edition of the podcast.  A detailed look into the Otha Young disappearance and murder – and a look into the work of a truly inspired and inspirational woman.  If you have any information on the disappearance and/or murder of Otha Young Jr., call Detective Walt Cooley of the Florence Kentucky Police Dept. at (859) 647-5420.  Virginia Braden’s website and blog are located at