The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner's Office and Othram Team to Identify a Man found in Lake Erie in 2014

Investigators have worked for eight years to identify a man found by the Lake Erie break wall
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Published March 29, 2022 by Michael Vogen
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In May 2014, a boater who was on Lake Erie spotted male human remains by the break wall of the Burke Lakefront Airport in Cleveland, Ohio. Pathologists could not determine a cause of death due to the state of decomposition, but estimate that the unidentified person died about six months prior to his discovery in the water.

The remains are believed to have come from a Caucasian male around the age of 45-58 years old and estimated to be between 5’3” and 5’11 feet tall. No teeth were recovered indicating the potential use of dentures. The examination of the body also revealed obvious healed fractures to the nose and left cheek bone. Additionally, an electrocardiogram lead was located in proximity to the right thigh. The man was wearing a pair of Wrangler blue 36W x 32L size jeans and 7.5 size black Brahma “Steel Toe” boots.

Cuyahoga investigators worked with the Maritime Society, US Coast Guard, Interpol and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to identify the man but eventually all leads were exhausted. Unfortunately, a fingerprint search was not an option due to the remains being in the water for so long. The Cuyahoga County Regional Forensic Science Laboratory did, however, successfully develop an STR DNA profile. To date, however, the DNA profile has not matched anyone. After eight years, this man is still unidentified.

The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner's Office is now working with Othram to use Forensic-Grade Genome Sequencing® to build a genealogical profile for this man. It is hoped that such a profile will reveal clues to his identity or at least identify a family relative. Anyone with information that might help identify this man or what happened to him, should contact the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Investigation Unit by calling 216-721-5610 (press option #1) and reference agency case number IN2014-00898 or NamUs ID #UP12854. A DNASolves fund has been created to cover the costs of DNA testing and research.

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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.