Oconto County Sheriff's Office Teams with Othram to Identify 1979 Doe Case

More than four decades have passed since an unidentified skull was found inside of a bread box in a Lena, Wisconsin landfill
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Published March 28, 2023 by Michael Vogen
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On August 24, 1979, a landfill caretaker in Lena, WI discovered a human skull inside of a metal bread box. The bread box was noted to be in good condition and the skull appeared to belong to an individual who, at the time, had died in recent years. The decedent was estimated to be between the ages of 30 and 40 years old at the time of death. Upon discovery, forensic anthropologists reported the sex of the individual to be female. No other identifying characteristics were observed and despite exhaustive efforts of the Oconto County Sheriff’s Office, the identity of this individual remains unknown.

In September 2022, the case details were entered into NamUs as case #UP95145. In 2023, the Oconto County Sheriff’s Office and the Brown County Medical Examiner’s Office partnered with Othram, Inc. in The Woodlands, TX in hopes of identifying the unknown individual through advanced forensic DNA testing and genetic genealogy.

Initial analysis at Othram has determined that the sex of the unidentified individual is male and not female as originally thought, and reported by the Racine Journal Times in an article on September 14, 1979. Anyone with information that could aid in this investigation is encouraged to contact the Oconto County Sheriff’s Office and reference agency case number OI22-3101 or NamUs ID #UP95145.

A DNASolves crowdfund has been created to raise funds for the remaining casework costs associated with identifying this individual. Anyone can contribute here.

Help fund another case Your contributions pay for lab supplies and research tools

Michael Vogen

Michael Vogen

Director of Case Management

2829 Technology Forest Blvd Suite 100, The Woodlands, Texas 77381

Michael works with law enforcement agencies throughout the United States and Canada on “unsolvable“ cases that can benefit from advanced DNA testing methods. He helps these agencies use cutting edge DNA sequencing and new forensic techniques to develop investigative leads for their cases.

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About Othram Inc.

Othram is the world’s first private DNA laboratory built specifically to apply the power of modern parallel sequencing to forensic evidence. Othram’s scientists are experts at ... Read morerecovery, enrichment, and analysis of human DNA from trace quantities of degraded or contaminated materials. Founded in 2018, and located in The Woodlands, Texas, our team works with academic researchers, forensic scientists, medical examiners, and law enforcement agencies to achieve results when other approaches have failed. Follow Othram on Twitter @OthramTech or visit Othram.com to learn how we can help you with your case. With dnasolves.com anyone can make a difference and help solve the next cold case.