In January 2021, a private citizen discovered human remains in the community of Golden Valley, Arizona, in the area of Fewey Road and Agua Fria Drive. Mohave County Sheriff's Detectives were dispatched to the scene with assistance from the Mohave County Medical Examiner’s Office. Investigators could not determine the identity or determine the cause of death for the unknown man. In February 2021, the case was entered into the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) as UP77898. With few leads to go on, the case soon went cold.
In February 2023, the Special Investigations Unit Detectives with the Mohave County Sheriff's Office, as part of an ongoing collaboration with Othram, decided to utilize advanced forensic DNA testing, in hopes that they might generate new leads in the case. Detectives sent skeletal remains to Othram's laboratory in The Woodlands, Texas. Othram scientists developed a suitable DNA extract from the skeletal remains and then used Forensic-Grade Genome Sequencing® to build a comprehensive DNA profile. The casework costs for this case were funded by Project Grace, a philanthropic initiative to help clear backlogs of unsolved cases. We are very grateful for the funding support for this case.
Othram's in-house genealogy team used the profile in genetic genealogy search to identify new investigative leads. These leads were returned to investigators with the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office. The leads, along with a follow up investigation, led investigators to a potential relative of the unknown man and the confirmation that the unknown man was 56-year-old Brian Crain from Golden Valley, Arizona. Crain was previously reported missing by a family member in September 2020, after the family had not heard from Crain after several weeks.
Circumstances around the disappearance and death of Crain are under investigation. Anyone with information regarding this case is encouraged to contact the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office Detective Division at 928-753-0753 ext. 4288.