Pennsylvania State Police & Lancaster County District Attorney's Office Team with Othram to Identify a 1992 Homicide Victim

After 32 years, a murdered man whose remains were discovered alongside the Pennsylvania Turnpike in Clay Township, Lancaster County, has been identified as Derek Michael Mason.

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Published June 20 by Michael Vogen
Media Inquiries


In January 1992, the remains of an unidentified individual were discovered alongside the Pennsylvania Turnpike in Clay Township, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Clay Township is west of Philadelphia. The Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) arrived at the scene and determined that the remains were that of a male who was estimated to be 5’10” tall and between 18 and 30 years old. At the time of the man’s discovery, he was wearing a Kate Collins brand light blue long sleeve sweater as well as a size 35-36 pair of men’s Fruit-of-the-Loom jockey style underwear. The man also had a scar on his chest from a previous bullet wound that had healed.

In April 2017, details of the case were entered into the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) as UP16543. Despite extensive efforts by law enforcement investigators to identify the man, no matches were found, and the case went cold due to a lack of viable leads.

In 2022, the Pennsylvania State Police submitted forensic evidence to Othram in The Woodlands, Texas. Othram scientists successfully developed a DNA extract from the forensic evidence and used Forensic-Grade Genome Sequencing® to build a comprehensive DNA profile for the unknown man. After successfully completing the process, the DNA profile was delivered to a PSP Analyst who performed the necessary work to generate new investigative leads in the case.

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, who is now known to be Derek Michael Mason. Mason was last seen leaving his home in the 500 block of South 39th Street in West Philadelphia in October 1991. Mason was known in the area by the names "Hawkeye" and "Hawk."

Anyone with information regarding the homicide of Derek Mason is asked to contact Trooper Brian McNally, PSP Lancaster, at 717-290-1967. PSP Tips is offering a $2,000 reward for any information that leads to an arrest in this case.

The identification of Derek Michael Mason represents the tenth case in the State of Pennsylvania where officials have publicly identified an individual using technology developed by Othram. Most recently in Sugarloaf, Pennsylvania, Margaret Carol Wininger who went missing in the early 1990’s, was identified after 30 years.

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.