In June 2021, human remains were located near the 4200 block of Trailer Drive in Charlotte, North Carolina. The remains were transported to the Mecklenburg County Medical Examiner’s Office. The decedent was determined to be male and no evidence of trauma was found. Upon discovery of the remains, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD) detectives worked to identify the decedent, but were unsuccessful despite their exhaustive efforts. Details of the unidentified person case were entered into the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) as UP90707.
In June 2022, CMPD detectives requested the assistance of the North Carolina Unidentified Project to identify the unknown man. Dr. Ann Ross, Forensic Anthropologist at North Carolina State University, sent skeletal remains to Othram's laboratory in The Woodlands, Texas. Using Forensic-Grade Genome Sequencing®, Othram built a comprehensive DNA profile for the decedent so that forensic genetic genealogy could be performed to provide new leads in an attempt to identify the unknown man.
Forensic Genealogist Leslie Kaufman performed the forensic genetic genealogy for this case. Mrs. Kaufman provided detectives with leads that would subsequently help to identify the decedent. Following these leads, CMPD detectives collected DNA from a potential relative of the decedent for reference testing. In March 2023, CMPD detectives were able to positively identify the unknown decedent as Cody Ray Herrell, who was born February 13, 1983. Herrell was originally from South Carolina, but was known to live on the streets of Charlotte. Cody’s remains have been returned to his family for final arrangements.
Advanced DNA testing for this case was funded by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Foundation.