Ventura County Medical Examiner's & Sheriff’s Office Team with Othram to Identify 2000 Jane Doe

After 24 years, the remains of a woman discovered in the Grimes Canyon area of Ventura County, California has been identified as Linda Laverne Orndorff Charlesworth Burka, born September 25, 1947.

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Published February 15 by Michael Vogen
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In January 2000, the remains of an unidentified individual were discovered in Fillmore, California. Fillmore is a city in Ventura County located in California’s Santa Clara River Valley. A surveyor who was working on Grimes Canyon Road between the cities of Fillmore and Moorpark discovered the partially buried skeletal remains. It was determined that the remains were that of a middle-aged adult female. The woman was estimated to be between 5’3” to 5’6” tall and approximately 120 to 130 pounds during her life. Along with the woman’s remains, investigators found several articles of clothing and a backpack.

Traditional forensic DNA testing was performed and the profile was entered into CODIS. No familial DNA match was made. Despite the extensive work of law enforcement, the woman's identity remained a mystery. Details of the case were entered into the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) as UP559.

In June 2023, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office-Cold Case Unit and the Ventura County Medical Examiner’s Office partnered with Othram to use advanced DNA testing and forensic genetic genealogy to identify the woman. Skeletal remains were sent to Othram's laboratory in The Woodlands, Texas. Othram scientists developed a suitable DNA extract from the skeletal remains and then used Forensic-Grade Genome Sequencing® to build a comprehensive DNA profile. The profile was used by Othram's in-house forensic genetic genealogy team to produce investigative leads, which were returned to law enforcement.

Using this new information, a follow-up investigation was conducted leading investigators to potential relatives of the woman. Reference DNA samples were collected for comparison analysis. The identity of Ventura County Jane Doe is now known to be Linda Laverne Orndorff Charlesworth Burka. Linda was born September 25, 1947. Linda’s last known residence was in the Long Beach, California area. Details surrounding Linda’s death are under investigation and updates will be shared as they become available.

Funding for the advanced DNA testing and forensic genetic genealogy used in this case was provided by NamUs, a national clearinghouse that assists the criminal justice community with the investigation and resolution of missing, unidentified, and unclaimed persons cases across the United States and its territories. NamUs is funded and administered by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) and is managed through a contract with Research Triangle Institute International. We are grateful for the support of RTI, NamUs, and the NIJ.

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.