Collier County Sheriff's Office Teams with Othram to Identify a 1977 John Doe

After nearly five decades, investigators have identified a man whose remains were found by land surveyors while cutting a property line in Collier County, Florida.

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Published April 25, 2024 by Michael Vogen
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In July 1977, the skeletal remains of an unidentified individual were discovered by land surveyors while cutting a property line in Collier County, Florida, just south of Fort Myers near State Road 951. Investigators arrived at the scene and determined that the remains were that of a white male who stood 5’11” tall and was between 35 and 55 years of age. Two gold chains were around the man’s neck, one with a cross that appeared to be handmade, and one with an Italian pepper. The man was also wearing a small “Sears” knit button-up shirt, blue jeans, Jockey-type shorts, socks, and a leather belt.

In April 2008, the case was entered into the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) as case number UP1325. Despite continuous efforts by law enforcement to identify the man, no leads yielded a match and the man’s identity remained a mystery.

In 2023, the Collier County Sheriff's Office submitted forensic evidence to Othram in The Woodlands, Texas to determine if advanced DNA testing could help identify the man. Othram scientists successfully developed a DNA extract from the forensic evidence, and then used Forensic-Grade Genome Sequencing® to build a comprehensive genealogical profile for the unknown man. Othram’s in-house forensic genetic genealogy team then used this profile to conduct extensive genetic genealogy research, ultimately providing new investigative leads to law enforcement.

Using this new information, a follow-up investigation was conducted leading investigators to potential relatives of the man. This investigation led to the positive identification of the man. At the request of the agency, the identity of the man will not be released at this time.

Grant funding provided by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for the use of Forensic Investigative Genetic Genealogy in UHR cases was awarded to Collier County Sheriff’s Office, allowing this case to be solved.

We would like to thank Senator Jennifer Bradley and her colleagues in the legislature for fighting for dollars for law enforcement agencies to help them solve these important cases.

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.