Jackson County Sheriff's Office and Othram Identify a John Doe Found in 2016

The unidentified man was found in an wooded area near the Escatawpa River

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Published November 15, 2021 by Michael Vogen
Media Inquiries


In October 2016, skeletal remains were discovered in a wooded area near East Street, in Moss Point, near the Escatawpa River. Investigators determined the skeletal remains belong to a man, likely Caucasian. He was suspected to be in the range of 30-50 years of age at the time of his death. There were no clues to his identity and all leads were quickly exhausted. The case was logged in NamUs as UP17324. The remains were then transferred to the Mississippi State Crime Lab.

As part of an ongoing partnership between the Mississippi State Crime Lab, Jackson County Sheriff's Office, and Othram, the remains were sent to Othram's laboratory. Othram developed a DNA extract from the skeletal remains and used Forensic-Grade Genome Sequencing® to develop a comprehensive genealogical DNA profile. Philanthropist Carla Davis, genetic genealogist and founder of DNA Davis, generously funded the casework and performed the genealogical research. The genealogical research identified a possible relative, residing in Michigan. Former investigator and now Instructor Matthew Hoggatt, with the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, who assists the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department with cold case investigations, contacted the possible relative relative.

Matthew Hoggatt arranged the collection of buccal swabs for DNA confirmation. The buccal swabs were sent to Othram and the biological sibling relationship was confirmed using KinSNP™ rapid familial DNA testing. The unidentified person is now known to be Aaron McGraw, who was born in 1961, and reported missing in May 2015. McGraw had a history of sleeping in the woods and history of mental illness. At this time, foul play is not suspected in McGraw's death.

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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.