Lincoln County Sheriff's Office Teams with Southeast Missouri State University and Othram to Identify 2006 John Doe

A public-private partnership between the Southeast Missouri State University's Anthropology Department and Othram helped identify an unknown man found in Troy, Missouri in 2006

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Published April 27, 2022 by Michael Vogen
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In March 2006, human skeletal remains were found by a survey crew, near a wood pile in the Cuivre River State Park in Troy, Missouri. Logged into NamUs as UP5027, the remains were recovered with a red "Eveready" small flashlight, small silver folding knife, cylinder style teal "Igloo" cooler with a white lid and maroon handle, a teal thermos with a black lid.

It was also reported in NamUs that the remains belong to a Caucasian male, likely 54-56 years of age at the time of his death. He was estimated to be 5'8" tall with an estimated weight of 260lb. Further analysis suggested that the man was right-handed, with a heavy, muscular build based on bone structure. A forensic facial reconstruction was commissioned but he was not recognized. With few leads to pursue, the case went cold and the man remained unidentified.

In 2021, the Cold Case Unit of the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office and the Lincoln County Coroners’ Office teamed with the Anthropology Program of Southeast Missouri State University to identify human remains through DNA analysis. Dr. Bengtson led SEMO students in anthropological investigation while coordinating with Othram for advanced DNA testing. Skeletal remains were sent to Othram's lab and a DNA extract was developed. Othram scientists used Forensic-Grade Genome Sequencing® to develop a comprehensive genealogical profile. Carla Davis generously donated her time to conduct a genealogical search and identified candidate family members for the unidentified man. Othram KinSNP™ rapid familial testing confirmed the relationship of a close relative. Lincoln County investigators completed their investigation, integrating SEMO Anthropology's findings, Othram's KinSNP™ testing, and their own investigative work, to confirm the identity of the unknown man.

Due to the condition of the remains at the time of their discovery, Lincoln County Coroner Dan Heavin, has said the cause of death remains undetermined, however there appears to be no signs of foul play or traumatic injury. The relatives of the deceased were contacted, and the remains released for burial. The family has asked that further details to be held in privacy, and local officials have agreed to honor this request.

Work on this case was funded by an undergraduate research grant from Southeast's Office of the Provost, donations to the University Foundation by private donors, the Department of History and Anthropology, and support from Department Chair Dr. Toni Alexander and Anthropology Instructor Ms. Jennifer Rickard. Their funding support was critical in enabling the identification of this man and his return to family.

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.

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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.