Sonoma County Sheriff's Office & California DOJ Team with Othram to Identify a 1967 Homicide Victim

After nearly 60 years, a murdered woman, whose remains were discovered off highway 1 in Sonoma County, California, has been identified as Lillian Marie Cardenas, born in 1928.

You can help by contributing funding.

Help fund another case Your contributions pay for lab supplies and research tools

Would you like to help solve cases like this one?

You can help by contributing your DNA data here:
Contribute DNA
Published May 08, 2024 by Michael Vogen
Media Inquiries


In February 1967, the unidentified remains of an individual were discovered in Sonoma County, California. The remains were found at the bottom of a cliff north of Jenner, a small town located on the Pacific coast. It was determined that the remains were that of a white female who was estimated to be between the ages of 40 and 46 years old at her time of death. The woman was between 5' 2" and 5' 4" tall. She wore a long-sleeved white blouse that buttoned down the back and light-colored pants. It was determined that the woman likely died the prior year, and her manner of death was ruled a homicide.

Despite investigators’ attempts, the woman could not be identified and she became known as Sonoma County Jane Doe. A forensic composite was developed and released to the public in hopes that it would generate new leads about her identity. There was no match, and the woman was buried at the County of Sonoma Cemetery. Details of the case were entered into the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) as UP102119.

In 2022, 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 woman. Othram scientists successfully developed a DNA extract from the forensic evidence and used Forensic-Grade Genome Sequencing® to build a comprehensive DNA profile for the unknown woman. Othram’s in-house genealogy team used the DNA profile in a forensic genetic genealogy search to produce new investigative leads, which were returned to investigators. Funding for the advanced DNA testing in this case was provided by the Roads to Justice (RTJ) program.

Using these new leads, law enforcement conducted a follow-up investigation. This follow-up investigation led to relatives of the unidentified woman. Sonoma County Jane Doe is now known to be Lillian Marie Cardenas, who was born in 1928. Cardenas’ last known residence was in San Francisco. She had been estranged from her family prior to her death. The investigation into Cardenas' death is ongoing and updates will be shared as they become available.

Investigators ask for anyone with information on Cardenas to dial 707-565-2727 or email officials at

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.

Similar cases

Read More
Read More
Read More
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.