The McHenry County Coroner's Office and Othram Identify a John Doe Found in Harvard, Illinois

Othram's advanced DNA testing platform helped investigators uncover the identity of an unknown man found in 2019

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Published October 23 by Michael Vogen
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Hikers in the Rush Creek Conservation Area of Harvard, Illinois discovered a body near the Rush Creek Trails in May 2019. The McHenry County Conservation Police responded to the scene and discovered the remains of a middle-aged white man. He was clothed in winter attire including multiple layers, a hat, hand-knitted scarf, and gloves.

The McHenry County Coroner’s Office attempted to identify the unknown man using fingerprints, dental records, and CODIS testing, but traditional approaches were unsuccessful in producing any identifying information. Investigators then coordinated with the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Forensic Imaging Unit to complete a digital facial reconstruction with digital technology. They shared his digital photograph in the hopes that someone might recognize him.

In May 2020, the McHenry County Coroner’s Office partnered with Othram to develop new leads in the case. Skeletal remains were sent to Othram and a DNA profile was built using Forensic-Grade Genome Sequencing®. An investigative lead was returned to Chief Deputy Coroner, Olivia Zednick. Together, her team and Othram confirmed the identity of the unknown man, enabling 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.