Barrington Hills Police Department Teams with Othram to Identify a 1979 Homicide Victim

More than four decades later, a man whose remains were discovered in the Chicago suburb of Barrington Hills has been identified as 27-year-old homicide victim Joseph A. Caliva.

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Published March 20, 2024 by Michael Vogen
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In August 1979, a horseback rider discovered the remains of an unidentified individual in a grassy area off Old Dundee Road in Barrington Hills, a suburban village located about 40 miles northwest of Chicago, Illinois. The Barrington Hills Police Department responded to the scene and located the partially charred torso of a white male victim. The man's legs had been severed and his head and arms were never located. It was estimated that the man was approximately 5'7" to 5'8" tall and less than 50 years old at the time of his death. The man's manner of death was homicide that took place at a location different than where the victim was found.

With no identifying characteristics available, the identity of the man could not be determined. Despite the efforts of law enforcement, the case went cold. Details of the case were entered into the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) as UP112246.

In 2023, the Barrington Hills Police Department partnered with Othram to determine if advanced forensic DNA testing could help to identify the murdered man. 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 for the man. Othram's in-house forensic genetic genealogy team used the profile in a genetic genealogy search to develop new investigative leads that were returned to law enforcement.

Using these new leads, Barrington Hills Police Department detectives conducted a follow-up investigation and made contact with a potential relative of the murdered man. Follow-up DNA testing confirmed the identity of the man as Joseph A. Caliva, who was 27 years old at the time of his murder. Anyone with information that could assist in this investigation is encouraged to call the Barrington Hills Police Department at 847-551-3006, referencing case number 1979-2050.

A portion of the casework costs associated with Othram's testing and investigative research were contributed by donors through a DNASolves® crowdfund with an initial contribution made by the Barrington Hills PD. Project Justice also contributed toward the costs. We are grateful to everyone that helped crowdfund this case and other DNASolves cases.

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.