Calif. teen identified 25 years after car crash in Phoenix

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by Crystal Cruz

azfamily.com

Posted on October 8, 2012 at 8:19 PM

Updated Monday, Oct 8 at 8:30 PM

PHOENIX -- Twenty-five years ago, John Bryan Moore ran away from his home in California.  

His dad, Joe, refused to change his telephone number.

"I kept the same phone number, I never moved," he said. "His mother kept the same number and never moved. I hoped one day he would call or stop by. I always hoped someday he would come back."

Recently, officials in Arizona called Moore at his home in California. They told him his 14-year-old boy died in a car crash outside of Phoenix in 1987. The teenager was buried in Tempe as John Doe.

John's parents reported him missing but the connections weren't made until now.

Federal grant money is being used to crack John Doe cold cases.

The body was exhumed for DNA testing.

Steve Leon, a former Department of Public Safety officer, searched through thousands of missing person reports and got a hit.

"I'm a determined person and I stuck with it," Leon said. "No matter what anybody tells me I'm going to stay with it and that's what I did."

John's sister, Joella, was just 16 when her little brother left home as a runaway.

Joella described her little brother as a Dennis the Menace-type kid who loved jokes and playing around.

Now the family is ready to bring their John home.

There are 200 people buried in Maricopa County without names.

The grant money is being used to crack 40 of these cases.

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