Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Teams with Othram to Identify Tortoise Reserve Doe

After 20 years, homicide victim Richard Wayne Guarro has been identified and an investigation into his death is in progress

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Published March 10 by Michael Vogen
Media Inquiries


In July 2001, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) investigators were contacted regarding the discovery of male human remains that were found near the 1-15 and US 93, near Apex Road. An autopsy performed by the Clark County Medical Examiner ruled the death as a homicide. Investigators described the homicide victim as a Caucasian male who was likely 35-45 year of age at the time of his death. The case was entered into NamUs as UP243.

Unfortunately, the remains could not be identified at the time of the autopsy and further testing and investigative work did not produce leads to an identity. With all leads exhausted, the case soon went cold.

In October 2021, LVMPD teamed with Othram to use Forensic-Grade Genome Sequencing® to re-analyze the skeletal remains to generate new leads that might identify the homicide victim or at least identify a close family relative. Skeletal remains were sent to Othram and a DNA extract was produced. From the extract, a genealogy profile was generated using Forensic-Grade Genome Sequencing®. Othram's in-house genealogical team used the profile in a genealogy search to identify distant relatives that could help trace the identity of the homicide victim.

Othram returned investigative leads to LVMPD detectives. The detectives made contact with potential family members and in February 2022, KinSNP® testing at Othram confirmed a biological sister to the homicide victim. At that point, LVMPD was able to confirm that the homicide victim from two decades earlier was Richard Wayne Guarro. Guarro had been reported as a missing person, after he failed to return home from a trip to Las Vegas on November 18, 1996.

Othram and LVMPD would like to express their deepest appreciation to Audiochuck for funding the full costs associated with laboratory testing and genealogical research. Their generosity helped bring answers to his family and now will help lead to the answers surrounding his murder.

An investigation into Guarro's death continues and more details will be released when possible. The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department is asking for any assistance from the public regarding this case. Anyone with information on Richard Wayne Guarro is asked to contact the LVMPD Homicide Section at 702-828-3521 or Crimestoppers at 702-385-5555.

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