Sonoma County Sheriff's Office & California DOJ Team with Othram to Identify a 2014 John Doe

The remains of an unidentified man discovered in a Sonoma County, CA creek have been identified as Joshua Daniel Fritz of Santa Rosa, CA.

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Published September 15, 2023 by Michael Vogen
Media Inquiries


In December 2014 and later in April 2021, skeletal remains of an unidentified man were found scattered near a creek in Sonoma County, California, just off of Chanate Road and west of Terra Linda Drive in Santa Rosa, California. Some of the remains were found in an eddy of the creek where it merged with a man-made culvert. Due to the condition of the remains, no conclusions could be made regarding the identity of the individual. Investigators with the Coroner Unit of the Sonoma County Sheriff submitted evidence to the California Department of Justice (CA-DOJ) where traditional DNA testing methods were pursued in an attempt to identify the individual. Despite the work of investigators, the individual could not be identified, and the case went cold.

In 2023, the California Department of Justice, in collaboration with the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office, submitted forensic evidence to Othram, in hopes that advanced DNA testing could assist with the identification of the individual. Othram scientists developed a comprehensive DNA profile for the individual using Forensic Grade Genome Sequencing®. Funding for advanced DNA testing was provided by the Roads to Justice (RTJ) program. During the course of the investigation, a potential relative of the individual came forward and provided a DNA sample for reference testing to determine if they were related to the unknown individual.

A comparison of the unidentified individual’s DNA profile to the potential relative’s DNA profile concluded that the two individuals were in fact related, confirming the identity of the unknown person as Joshua Daniel Fritz. Fritz was born December 30, 1985 and was a resident of Santa Rosa, California. Fritz’s remains were discovered days before he would have been 29 years old. The last known date of contact with Fritz was in November of 2011 and he was officially reported missing in May of 2019. A missing persons record for Fritz was entered into the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) as MP98471.

The circumstances surrounding the death of Fritz are unclear at this time. Anyone with information about this case is encouraged to contact the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office at 707-565-2121 and reference agency case number 14- 0001432. Additional details will be provided as they become available.

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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 to learn how we can help you with your case. With anyone can make a difference and help solve the next cold case.