Nevada State Police & FBI Team with Othram to Identify a 1980 Homicide Victim

After more than four decades, the remains of a homicide victim discovered in rural Nye County, Nevada have been identified as Albert Matas of Commerce, California.

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Published February 28 by Michael Vogen
Media Inquiries


In October 1980, Nye County Sheriff’s Office (NCSO) Deputies located the remains of an unknown adult male approximately 60 miles south of Tonopah, Nevada near a dirt road. The man’s remains were discovered roughly one mile east of US highway 95. The NCSO requested the investigative assistance of the Nevada State Police - Investigation Division (NSP ID) and detectives responded to the scene. Evidentiary items were collected from the scene and a subsequent investigation revealed that the man suffered several gunshot wounds. The man’s manner of death was determined to be homicide.

Throughout the course of the investigation, the NSP ID conducted interviews and made multiple attempts to identify the unknown homicide victim through fingerprint records, dental records, press releases, and evidentiary items located at the scene. Despite the exhaustive efforts of investigators, no significant leads were established, and the case went cold. As DNA technology evolved, a mitochondrial DNA profile for the Nye County John Doe was obtained and entered into the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs). Details of the case were entered into NamUs as UP14934.

In March 2022, the Nevada State Police - Investigation Division submitted forensic evidence to Othram in The Woodlands, Texas in hopes that advanced DNA testing could help to identify the unknown man. Othram scientists developed a suitable DNA extract from the provided skeletal remains and then used Forensic-Grade Genome Sequencing® to build a comprehensive DNA profile. After successfully completing the process, the DNA profile was delivered to the FBI's forensic genetic genealogy team and the FBI team performed the necessary work to generate investigative leads.

The FBI’s forensic genetic genealogy search yielded several new leads, which were provided to NSP ID Detectives. The follow-up investigation led to the identification of the homicide victim as Albert Matas of Commerce, California. Further investigation revealed that Albert's family had lost all contact with him in September of 1978.

The investigation into the death of Albert Matas is ongoing. Anyone with information on this case is asked to contact the Nevada State Police Investigation Division at 775-684-7456.

Funding for the advanced DNA testing performed by Othram in this case was provided by NamUs, a national clearinghouse that assists the criminal justice community with the investigation and resolution of missing, unidentified, and unclaimed persons cases across the United States and its territories. NamUs is funded and administered by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) and is managed through a contract with Research Triangle Institute International. We are grateful for the support of RTI, NamUs, and the NIJ.

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.