Riverside District Attorney's Office Leverages Othram's Forensic Sequencing Platform to Identify a 1994 Homicide Victim

After thirty years, a murdered woman whose remains were found buried in California's Colorado Desert has been identified as Clare Dvorak, born January 30, 1907.

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Published April 27, 2024 by Michael Vogen
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In March 1994, the remains of an unidentified individual were discovered in Chiriaco Summit, California near Indio in the Colorado Desert. The discovery was made by hunters in the area after recent rain had disturbed the desert grave. The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department responded to the remote location. It was determined that the remains were that of a white female, likely between the ages of 70 and 85 years. The woman had thin white hair that was approximately five inches long. The woman wore a disposable diaper and a pink robe. No identifying information for the woman was available. It was determined that the woman’s manner of death was homicide.

A composite sketch was developed and released to the public in hopes that it would generate new leads about the woman's identity. Despite investigators’ attempts to name her, the woman could not be identified, and the case went cold for decades. Details of the case were entered into the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) as UP7042. In an attempt to finally identify the murdered woman, the Riverside District Attorney’s Office Cold Case Team partnered with Othram to determine if advanced DNA testing could help to identify the victim.

In 2021, the Riverside District Attorney's Office submitted forensic evidence to Othram in The Woodlands, Texas. Othram's laboratory team used Forensic-Grade Genome Sequencing® to generate a comprehensive DNA profile for the woman. This profile was delivered to investigators with the Riverside District Attorney's Cold Case Team who used it to perform a genealogical search to develop new leads in the case.

Using the leads developed by forensic genetic genealogy, a follow-up investigation was launched. This investigation led to the positive identification of the murdered woman as Clare Dvorak, born January 30, 1907. The identification of Clare Dvorak marks the fourth Jane Doe publicly identified in Riverside County and the 34th public identification made in the State of California utilizing Othram’s technology.

Anyone with information about Clare Dvorak can contact the Riverside District Attorney's Office Cold Case Unit at coldcaseunit@rivcoda.org.

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