Mississippi Office of the State Medical Examiner and Mississippi Bureau of Investigation Team with Othram to Identify a 1999 John Doe

The remains of an identified man who was missing since 1990 have been identified as John “Johnny” Edward Billingsley of Memphis, Tennessee.

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Published April 22, 2024 by Michael Vogen
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In June 2022, the partial skeletal remains of an unknown individual were transferred into the custody of the Mississippi Office of the State Medical Examiner’s Office. It is believed that the remains were likely discovered in 1999. No identifying information, including sex or likely ancestry, could be reliably determined for the individual. Details of the case were entered into the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) as UP111125. The case did not match any known missing persons.

In October 2023, the Mississippi Office of the State Medical Examiner and Mississippi Bureau of Investigation partnered with Othram to determine if advanced forensic DNA testing could help to identify the individual. Forensic evidence was submitted to Othram in The Woodlands, Texas. Othram scientists successfully developed a DNA extract from the evidence and then used Forensic-Grade Genome Sequencing to build a comprehensive DNA profile. During this process, the individual’s sex was determined to be male. Othram’s in-house forensic genetic genealogy team used the profile to conduct genealogical research and develop new investigative leads that were returned to investigators.

Using these leads, a follow-up investigation was launched, and contact was made with a potential relative of the unknown man. This investigation and confirmatory DNA testing led to the identity of the man as John “Johnny” Edward Billingsley, born on January 31, 1964, in Somerville, Fayette County, Tennessee. Billingsley resided in Memphis, Tennessee with his grandmother and he was last seen in March 1990 at the age of 26. Anyone with information that could assist in this investigation is encouraged to call the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation at 888-827-4637, referencing case number ME22-5006.

Funding for casework completed by Othram was provided by Mississippi native and philanthropist, Carla Davis, who is committed to resolving the backlog of cold cases in Mississippi. The identification of John Billingsley represents the 25th case in the State of Mississippi where officials have publicly identified an individual using technology developed by Othram. Most recently in Jackson, Elton Orlando Jackson was identified.

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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.