ALTON, Mo. – A stunning cold case breakthrough led police to a man living a new life in Michigan. Police found the suspect hiding under a stolen name, having fooled both authorities and his own family for decades.

According to reports, police were able to solve two mysteries in Alton—a 1990s violent crime mystery and a more recent stolen identity mystery. Both trails led to one man, 53-year-old Robert D. Mason III, who appeared in a Madison County courtroom Monday. The judge decided it was too risky to allow for the defendant’s release.

An Alton Police investigation made a connection that stunned even those close to Mason. A discovery that was not disputed by the defendant was that he was not who he said he was.

Court records from 1994 accuse Mason of invading an apartment in Alton and shooting someone four times. The victim survived, and Mason disappeared from Alton for 30 years. He was later found to have been very active in Michigan, hiding under the name of another Alton victim, named Dorynell Thompson.

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He was arrested in 1996 in Michigan under the alleged stolen name and served 17 years in prison for a crack cocaine offense. He was released in 2017 and became an ordained minister. He was also married in 2015 under his stolen name.

FOX 2 asked the federal government how someone can serve an entire sentence under a stolen name. We’re waiting on the response.

We also contacted the real Dorynell Thompson, who says he’s not ready to talk. It came out in court that he’s been trying to solve the mystery of who stole his identification since 2021 and that Mason was even able to get a driver’s license in the victim’s name.