In 1958, the remains of an unknown individual were found in Kanosh, Utah, a small desert town in Millard County. In 1979, the Utah State Medical Examiner’s Office was notified about the existence of the remains. While records indicate the individual's remains were discovered in 1958, it is not known who discovered the remains or where they were stored prior to the Medical Examiner’s Office receiving them twenty-one years later. The remains were stored without any clues to help determine who the unknown person may be. In 2020, more than sixty-years after the remains were discovered, a forensic anthropology analysis was completed. It was determined that the skeletal remains are likely that of a White male, estimated to be between 5’8” and 6’2” tall, who at the time of his death was between 25 and 35 years old.
The anthropological assessment determined that the decedent experienced skeletal trauma during his life. While estimates of an individual’s lifestyle and occupation are not routinely estimated when examining skeletal remains, the extent of healed injuries that were sustained during the man’s life indicate that he may have been a working cowboy or rodeo athlete. Additionally, the man may have had a condition in which the knees tilt inward while the ankles remain spaced apart, commonly referred to as “knock-kneed.”
It is speculated that these remains could be that of Everett Ruess, an American artist, poet, and writer who was known to be exploring the Utah deserts in the 1930s when he went missing. However, with the passing of decades and the lack of identifying characteristics or other information, the identity of the man is unknown. In 2020, details of the case were entered into the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) as #UP64653.
In 2023, the Millard County Sheriff’s Office teamed with Othram to determine if advanced DNA testing could help to finally identify the remains of the John Doe. Anyone who may assist in the investigation is encouraged to contact the Millard County Sheriff’s Office and reference agency case number 197900337 or NamUs ID #UP64653.
A DNASolves crowdfund has been established to cover the remaining casework costs. Anyone can contribute here. We are grateful for your support.