Toronto Police Service Leverages Othram's Genetic Testing Platform to Identify 2019 John Doe

A man whose remains were found in the stairwell of a Toronto building has been identified.

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Published July 14, 2023 by Michael Vogen
Media Inquiries


In July 2019, the remains of an unknown man were located in the stairwell of a building located at 901 King Street West in Toronto, Ontario. The man was White and 5’8” to 6’2” tall with short, salt and pepper hair and a few days growth facial hair that was also described as being salt and pepper in color. It was estimated that the man was between the ages of 32 to 52 years at his time of death. The man bore tattoos on both of his arms and upper back that were described as being “distinct and extensive.”

Throughout the course of the investigation, a composite sketch was created by a Forensic Artist with the Ontario Provincial Police and released to the public in hopes that the man could be identified. Toronto Police Services provided additional information to the public regarding the case including a description of the articles of clothing found on the man’s body in hopes that these would lead to his identification. The man’s identity could not be determined and eventually all leads in the case were exhausted and the case went cold.

In 2022, Toronto Police Service teamed with Othram to determine if advanced DNA testing could help to identify the man. Forensic evidence was sent to Othram’s laboratory in The Woodlands, Texas. Othram scientists used Forensic-Grade Genome Sequencing® to build a comprehensive DNA profile. The profile was delivered to Toronto Police Service investigators, who then used forensic genetic genealogy to identify multiple individuals that may be related to the unknown man. In May 2023, Toronto Police Service investigators contacted a relative of the man who provided the unknown man's possible name. Using these new investigative leads, the Office of the Chief Coroner for Ontario subsequently confirmed the identity of the unknown man through medical imaging records. Investigators determined that the man’s manner of death was not criminal in nature and no further details regarding the decedent will be released.

Toronto Police Service has partnered with Othram on multiple recent cases, including the 1983 murders of Susan Tice and Erin Gilmour, the abduction and murder of Christine Jessop, and most-recently, the June 2023 identification of four-year-old Neveah Tucker.

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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 to learn how we can help you with your case. With anyone can make a difference and help solve the next cold case.