San Mateo County Coroner’s Office and California DOJ Team with Othram to Identify a 2023 John Doe

An unidentified man whose remains were found in San Mateo County, California has been identified as Milton Anthony Steffens, born in 1937.

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Published April 02, 2024 by Michael Vogen
Media Inquiries


In January 2023, an unidentified male was found in San Mateo County, California. There were no identifying documents or clues to the man's identity, and investigators were unable to determine who the man was. In an effort to identify the him, the San Mateo County Coroner's Office reached out to the California Department of Justice for additional assistance.

In September 2023, the California Department of Justice teamed with Othram to determine if advanced forensic DNA testing could help establish an identity for the unidentified man. The casework in this case was funded through the Roads to Justice (RTJ) program. Forensic evidence was sent by the California Department of Justice to Othram in The Woodlands, Texas. Othram scientists used Forensic-Grade Genome Sequencing® to build a comprehensive DNA profile for the unknown man and returned the DNA profile to investigators.

In the course of the investigation, law enforcement identified a candidate relative of the unknown man. A reference DNA sample was provided for comparison testing. Othram used KinSNP® Rapid Familial Relationship Testing to support the hypothesized relationship. A follow up investigation confirmed that the unknown man is, in fact, Milton Anthony Steffens. Steffens was born in 1937 in San Francisco.

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