Michigan State Police & St. Clair Sheriff's Department Team with Othram to Identify Suspect in the 1980 Murder of Karen Umphrey

Douglas Laming, 70, of Fort Gratiot, Michigan has been identified as the suspect in the 1980 murder of 21-year-old Karen Umphrey.

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Published December 18, 2023 by Michael Vogen
Media Inquiries


In November 1980, 21-year-old Karen Umphrey was found murdered in the State Game Area of Beards Hills, Michigan near Port Huron. Port Huron is the county seat of St. Clair County. The identity of the person responsible for Karen’s death was not known and despite investigators attempts to identify the killer, the case went cold. For more than four decades, investigators continued their pursuit to identify the person responsible for Karen’s death.

Working with the Michigan State Police and Othram, a company specializing in forensic genetic geneology, information was uncovered that previously would have been impossible to find.
-St. Clair County Sheriff's Office

In 2022, the Michigan State Police submitted forensic DNA evidence from the crime scene to Othram. Othram scientists used Forensic-Grade Genome Sequencing® to develop a comprehensive genealogical profile from the DNA of the unknown contributor that was discovered at the crime scene in 1980. Othram's in-house forensic genetic genealogy team used the genealogical profile to produce investigative leads. Othram returned the investigative leads to the Michigan State Police and they worked with St. Clair County Sheriff Department investigators to continue the investigation.

St. Clair County Sheriff’s Office detectives spoke to many people that were connected to the victim or the suspect in the 1980s, gathering information, and making vital connections. This follow up investigation led to the identification of Douglas Laming as the suspect in Karen’s murder. Laming is now 70 years-old and from Fort Gratiot, Michigan. Laming was arrested on December 15, 2023 and has been charged with first-degree murder, punishable with up to life in prison. He was arraigned Sunday, December 17, 2023 and is expected to appear in court for a probable cause conference on December 26, 2023.

The case is ongoing and we will update this story as more information becomes available.

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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 Othram.com to learn how we can help you with your case. With dnasolves.com anyone can make a difference and help solve the next cold case.