Missoula County Sheriff's Office Teams with Othram to Identify a 2010 John Doe

The remains of an unidentified individual found in Stevensville, Montana are to be identified using advanced DNA technology.


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Published March 21, 2024 by Michael Vogen
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In July 2010, the partial skeletal remains of an unidentified individual were found by a group of hikers in the Bitterroot National Forest near Stevensville, Montana, a town in Ravalli County. Ravalli County neighbors Missoula County. It is part of a mountain valley and is bordered by the Sapphire Mountains to the east and the Bitterroot Mountains to the west. The individual's sex could not be definitively determined, but it was assumed that the remains were that of a male.

The individual’s remains were found at St. Mary’s Mountain along with several items, including a small black nylon backpack manufactured by the “Uphill Down” company located in Salt Lake City, Utah, a silver Zippo lighter, a hand trowel, some buckles and military-like buttons, and a metal water canteen with the initials OR (Outdoor Research) on it.

A partially used foil pack of Tagamet HB 200, which is typically used in the treatment of heartburn and peptic ulcers, stamped with an expiration date of April 1999, was also found inside of the backpack. A pair of “East-Canada Airsoft” pants with an adjustable seam size of 29 ½ to 31 ½ and waist size of 31-33 was discovered alongside the remains. A pair of black leather shoes with Vibram soles were found near the body as well, but the size is unknown.

In 2023, details of the case were entered into the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) as #UP101855. Despite the efforts of investigators, the man's identity remains unknown and he became known as Ravalli County Doe.

In 2024, the Missoula County Sheriff’s Office Cold Case Unit teamed with Othram to leverage advanced DNA testing and genetic genealogy to develop investigative leads in hopes of identifying the individual. Anyone with information that could aid in this investigation is encouraged to contact the Missoula County Sheriff’s Office by calling 406-258-4810 and referencing agency case 10070063.

A DNASolves crowdfund has been created to raise funds for the casework costs. Anyone can contribute here. We are grateful for your support.

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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.