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GBI identifies victim and killer in 2022 Liberty Co. homicide
Image Courtesy GBI Mindi Kassotis, left, of Lancaster, Penn., was identified Thursday as the woman found murdered Dec. 2 in Liberty County. At right, is a sketch by GBI Forensic Artist Kelly Lawson released Dec. 13 in seeking the public's help in identifying Kassotis.

After a months-long effort to identify the body of a woman found last December in southeast Georgia, the Georgia Bureau of investigation announced Saturday her identity and an arrest in her murder.

According to a release from the GBI, Nicholas James Kassotis was arrested Friday in Lancaster, Penn., in connection to the death of his wife, Mindi Mebane Kassotis. Mindi Kassotis’ body was found Dec. 2, 2022 on a hunting club that covered areas in Liberty and Mcintosh Counties. 

The release said she was 40 years old at the time she was found in Riceboro. The Kassotis’ were living in Savannah at the time of her death.

The GBI released a sketch Dec. 12 and other details to the media of the woman found murdered, seeking the public’s assistance in identifying the victim.

According to Saturday’s release, GBI agents assigned to the investigation requested the FBI’s assistance with genealogy DNA. The FBI used a lab specializing in advanced testing and created a genealogy DNA of the slain woman. 

Using that information, GBI agents were able to identify and subsequently interview family members. They obtained DNA swabs for comparison to the profile created through genealogy DNA and Mindi Kassotis was identified as the victim on Thursday, May 11.

Her husband Nicholas Kassotis, 40, was arrested Friday and charged with malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, tampering with evidence and removal of body parts from scene of death or dismemberment. He is being held at the Lancaster County Prison in Pennsylvania awaiting extradition to Georgia.

In explaining how genetic genealogy was used in the investigation that led to Nicholas Kassotis’ arrest, the GBI said in the release that the technique focused on the construction of a family tree for persons identified as possible family members of the victim by combing through public and government records. 

FBI personnel then compared the persons identified in the family tree with the location and timing of the crime to identify a likely suspect. Finally, the FBI sought a comparison between the victim’s DNA and the DNA from a parent of the victim to ultimately verify Mindi Kassotis’ identity.

The investigation into identifying Mindi Kassotis began Dec. 2 when partial remains of a woman were discovered off Jones Road in the woods of the Portal Hunting Club in Riceboro. According to the GBI, additional remains were discovered within a three-mile radius on the hunting club property in Liberty County, as well as McIntosh County.

The GBI said testing determined the remains were placed in the area on or around Nov. 27, 2022. 

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