Suffolk County Police Department and the FBI Team with Othram to Identify a 1996 Gilgo Beach Murder Victim

Thought to be the earliest recorded victim from the Long Island Serial Killer case, skeletal remains of a young woman, murdered in 1996, are now known to belong to 34-year-old Karen Vergata from Manhattan.

You can help by contributing funding.

Help fund another case Your contributions pay for lab supplies and research tools

Would you like to help solve cases like this one?

You can help by contributing your DNA data here:
Contribute DNA
Published August 04, 2023 by Michael Vogen
Media Inquiries


In April 1996, the legs of an unidentified woman were recovered inside of a black garbage bag at Blue Point Beach in Suffolk County, New York. Later, in April 2011, the woman’s skull was recovered near Ocean Parkway west of Tobay Beach in Nassau County, New York. The woman’s torso and hands were never recovered. Investigators determine the woman was white and likely between the ages of 18 and 50. They discovered several scars on the decedent’s right leg including a 3 1/2” on the lateral mid-leg area, a 1” linear scar on the lateral mid to lower leg, and a ½” scar on the medial ankle. The woman’s left leg had a 2" surgical scar with adjacent suture scars on the medial left ankle. The woman had red nail polish on all toes that, at the time of her discovery in 1996, was noted to be from a recent pedicure. The woman’s height and weight as well as other identifying characteristics could not be estimated.

Because she could not be identified, the woman became known as “Jane Doe Seven” and “Fire Island Jane Doe.” In 2011, details of the woman's unidentified person case were entered into the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) as UP9098. Despite law enforcement’s exhaustive efforts, Fire Island Jane Doe remained unidentified.

In 2022, the Suffolk County Police Department in collaboration with the FBI teamed with Othram to determine if advanced DNA testing could help to identify Fire Island Jane Doe. Forensic evidence was sent to Othram’s laboratory in The Woodlands, Texas. Othram scientists developed a suitable DNA extract from the forensic evidence and then used Forensic-Grade Genome Sequencing® to build a comprehensive genealogical profile. After successfully completing the process, the DNA profile was delivered to the FBI's forensic genetic genealogy team and the FBI team performed the necessary work to generate investigative leads.

The FBI team working with Suffolk County Police Department continued the investigation and were eventually able to confirmed the identity of Fire Island Jane Doe as Karen Vergata of Manhattan, New York. Vergata was 34 years old at the time of her death. Vergata was missing since Valentine's Day in 1996.

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.

Similar cases

Read More
Read More
Read More
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.