Mohave County Sheriff's Office Teams with Othram to Identify 1996 Mohave County John Doe

Twenty-seven years later, the remains of a man found in a shallow desert grave are identified as Sherman George of California.

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Published September 11 by Michael Vogen
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In January 1996, two men discovered human remains approximately three miles north of Stockton Hills Road while running their dogs and looking for rocks outside the city of Kingman, Arizona. The remains of the unidentified individual were found in a shallow grave next to a large rock formation, under a juniper tree near a gravel pit. Detectives with the Mohave County Sherrif's Office responded to the scene.

Anthropologists with the University of Arizona Department of Anthropology determined that the individual was a Black male who was estimated to be between the ages of 30 and 40 years; the man was approximately 5’10” to 6’1” in height. No other identifying characteristics were available for the man. The man's cause of death was determined to be a gunshot wound to the head. Despite investigators multiple attempts to identity the man, his identity remained a mystery. In November 2021, details of the missing person case were entered into the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) as UP85996.

In February 2023, the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office Special Investigations Unit (SIU) teamed with Othram to determine if advanced DNA testing could assist in the identification of the man. Forensic evidence was submitted to Othram’s laboratory in The Woodlands, Texas. Using Forensic-Grade Genome Sequencing®, Othram scientists developed a comprehensive DNA profile for the man. The profile was used by Othram's in-house genealogy team to generate new investigative leads in the case. These leads revealed potential family members of the unknown man and subsequently he has been identified as Sherman George of Los Angeles County, California.

George served in the Army and was known to frequent the desert area in California and Mohave County, Arizona with his former Army friends. Records show that, during his time in the Army, George was stationed at Fort Liberty, North Carolina (formerly Fort Bragg). Sherman George was never reported missing as he was estranged from his family having seen them last in late 1994.

Anyone with information regarding this case, and George’s military and post-military activities, is encouraged to contact the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office Detective Division at 928-753-0753 x4288, reference DR# 96-01362.

The costs associated with this case were funded by Project Grace, a philanthropic initiative with a goal to help clear backlogs of unsolved cases. Othram is grateful for the funding support for this case and several other cases that Mohave County Sheriff's Office worked with Othram including the identification of Christopher Canning, Jordan Victor Carvalho, and Brandon Ray Parlanti.

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.