Columbus County Sheriff's Office and NC Unidentified Project Team with Othram to Identify a 1991 John Doe

More than three decades later, the identity of a man found by hunters in rural North Carolina remains a mystery
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Published September 30, 2022 by Michael Vogen
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In November 1991, the skeletal remains of an unidentified man were discovered on a blanket near a pond in Whiteville, North Carolina. The discovery was made by a group of hunters alongside an unpaved rural road. The unknown man was believed to be between the ages of 18 and 39, and stood between 5’7” and 5’9” tall. No conclusive determinations were made about the man’s weight, hair color, eye color, or geographical ancestry. The man’s cause of death could also not be determined.

Over the more than 30 years since the discovery of the unknown man's remains, investigators have diligently pursued all leads in the case. In September 2019, the case was entered into the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) as case number #UP60202. Despite their exhaustive efforts, the man’s identity has remained a mystery. With few leads for investigators to pursue, the case eventually went cold.

In 2022, the Columbus County Sheriff’s Office and the NC Unidentified Project partnered with Othram to determine if advanced DNA testing could help establish an identity for the man. The investigation continues as Othram begins to build a comprehensive genealogical profile for the man. 

Anyone with information that could aid in this investigation is encouraged to contact the Columbus County Sheriff's Office by calling 910-642-6551 and referencing agency case #91-1134. A DNASolves crowdfund has been created to raise funds for the remaining casework costs and anyone can contribute here.

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.