Cowlitz County Sheriff's Office Partners with Othram to Identify a 2022 John Doe

An unidentified man discovered in the Cowlitz River in 2022 is now known to be 55-year-old Bryan M. Heinrich, Sr.

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Published August 14, 2023 by Michael Vogen
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In July 2022, a kayaker found the body of a deceased individual stuck near the pilings of a structure at the mouth of the Cowlitz River where it meets the Columbia River in Longview, Washington. The body was recovered by Cowlitz County Sheriff's Deputies, with the assistance of Cowlitz County Dive Rescue Team. The body was that of an adult male. No identification was available for the man. An examination of the body by the Cowlitz County Coroner’s Office showed no signs of trauma. Due to the condition of the remains, facial identification and fingerprints were not available. A Forensic Odontologist prepared dental records for comparison in the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs). Details of the unidentified person case were entered into NamUs as UP95241. Despite the efforts of law enforcement, the identity of the man remained a mystery.

In December 2022, the Cowlitz County Sheriff's Office partnered with Othram to determine if advanced DNA testing could help to identify the man. Skeletal remains were sent to Othram's laboratory in The Woodlands, Texas. Othram scientists developed a suitable DNA extract from the forensic evidence and then used Forensic-Grade Genome Sequencing® to generate a comprehensive DNA profile. The profile was used by Othram's in-house forensic genetic genealogy team to produce investigative leads that were returned to law enforcement.

Armed with these new leads, Detectives conducted a follow-up investigation to locate family members of the unidentified man. The man’s brother was identified and he was able to positively identify a tattoo on the man's upper left arm. The tattoo was also identified by a subject who had a past relationship and children with the individual. The man is now known to be Bryan M. Heinrich, Sr. Heinrich had been living in local homeless shelters and was last seen by family in March of 2022. Heinrich was 55 years old when his body was found.

There is no indication that Heinrich died as a result of a crime and the investigation will be closed. The Coroner’s Office will work with Heinrich's family for the final disposition of his remains. We will provide case updates as they become available.

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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.