Mississippi State Medical Examiner's Office and Hinds County Sheriff's Office Teams with Othram to Identify 2018 Jane Doe

Burned skeletal remains found in 2018 have now been identified as Juanita Diane Roxy Coleman, who had been missing since 2016

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Published May 26 by Michael Vogen
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In 2018, employees from a tree cutting service discovered a human skull in a wooded area where they were working, along side Champion Hill Road in Bolton, MS. Additional search efforts yielded additional skeletal remains. The Hinds County Sheriff’s Office and the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation were called to investigate the scene. Cause of death could not be established, although it was noted that the remains were partially burned.

Investigators estimated that the remains belong to an African American woman that was likely under the age of 30 years of age, but not much else could be learned because only a partial set of remains were found. The case was logged into NamUs as UP56266 but with traditional methods exhausted, the case soon went cold.

In 2021, as part of an ongoing collaboration, the Mississippi State Medical Examiner's Office teamed with Othram to use Forensic-Grade Genome Sequencing® to develop a comprehensive genealogical profile from the burned skeletal remains. The condition of the skeletal remains necessitated additional processing steps to make DNA suitable for advanced testing. After multiple rounds of testing, Othram scientists were able to build the necessary profile to enable genealogical search. The costs associated with this case were funded by Mississippi native and philanthropist, Carla Davis. In addition, Carla Davis led the genealogical research to search for possible family members of the unidentified woman.

Investigative leads were returned to law enforcement and in a follow up investigation paired with KinSNP® rapid familial testing, the unknown woman's relationship to a close family relative was established. The investigation confirmed that the unknown woman was Juanita Diane Roxy Coleman.

Remarkably, Juanita was reported missing in NamUs and also at The Charley Project. According to The Charley Project, Coleman was last seen in the 1500 block of Dianne Drive in Jackson, Mississippi on April 1, 2016. She would have been 19 years old at the time of her disappearance. Her family heard rumors that she was shot in the face, but there was no confirmation or additional details available at the time.

An investigation into her death continues. Anyone with information about Juanita should contact the Detective Sharon Jordan of Jackson Police Department - Special Victims Unit at 601-960-2328 or 601-213-6154.

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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.