In April 1985, the remains of an unidentified individual were located in Fairhaven, Massachusetts along Route 195. The Fairhaven Police responded to the scene and determined that the remains were that of an adult male, estimated to be 5’9” tall and likely in his 30s or 40s at the time of his death. Investigators believed that the man had died one to three years prior to the discovery of his remains. Along with the man’s remains, investigators recovered spent projectiles and the remnants of clothing. The evidence the scene supported homicide as the manner of death for the unknown man.
Over the years, investigators pursued various leads and avenues to determine the man's identity. Details of the case were entered into the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) as UP58261. A forensic cast was created to depict how the man may have looked during his life in hopes that it would help to generate leads about the John Doe’s identity. With no other clues or identifying documents available, and few leads to pursue, the murdered man’s identity could not to be determined and the case eventually went cold.
In 2022, the Massachusetts State Police working with the Bristol County District Attorney, submitted skeletal remains to Othram in The Woodlands, Texas. Othram scientists successfully developed a suitable DNA extract from the skeletal remains and then used Forensic-Grade Genome Sequencing® to build a comprehensive DNA profile for the unidentified homicide victim. After successfully completing the process, the DNA profile was delivered to investigators who worked with the FBI's forensic genetic genealogy team to generate new leads in the case.
With these new investigative leads in hand, the law enforcement team made contact with a potential family member of the murdered man. Confirmation DNA testing between the potential relative and the DNA profile developed for the murdered man, established the identity of the man as Keith Olson of Rhode Island. Olson, born May 13, 1953, was reported missing to the Cranston Police Department by his family in April 1981. With Olson now identified, investigators have also identified a likely suspect in his murder. The homicide investigation continues and we will provide updates as they become available.