Monterey County Sheriff's Department & the District Attorney's Cold Case Taskforce Teams with Othram to Identify 2002 John Doe

Two decades later, the Monterey County Sheriff's Department is working to identify a man whose remains were found in Monterey County, California
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Published March 27, 2023 by Michael Vogen
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In March 2002, the remains of an unidentified man were discovered by a ranch employee within the dry Gabilan Creek bed in Salinas, California, along the southwest portion of a cultivated field. Monterey County Sheriff’s Detectives responded to scene but were challenged to identify the man due to advanced decomposition. The man is presumed to be Hispanic/Latino and his age was estimated at between 40 and 60 years old at the time of his death. The man's height and weight were measured as 5' 3" tall and 114 pounds, respectively. Additionally, the man had black and grey hair, no longer than two to three inches in length, brown eyes, and a gray mustache.

Detectives noted several distinctive features on the individual's right thigh and shin including a rectangular skin donor site scar on the front right thigh and a bone deformity of the right shin covered by extensive skin scarring and grafting. Detectives also observed a tattoo of a monkey hanging from a tree limb/branch on the right upper arm and a tattoo of a female with head dress and feathers holding a sword on the front right forearm. At the time of discovery, the man was wearing a short sleeve tee shirt, black denim jeans over burgundy cut-off trousers with a brown leather belt, two pairs of black socks, and black leather zipper shoes.

Since the discovery of the remains, the Monterey County Sheriff’s Department has diligently pursued various leads about the unknown man’s identity. Despite efforts to identify the unknown man, the case went cold. In January of 2023, the case was entered into the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) as #UP99259.

In 2023, the Monterey County Sheriff’s Department, along with the District Attorney’s Cold Case Taskforce, partnered with Othram to determine if advanced forensic DNA testing could help establish an identity for the man or a close relative. Anyone with information that could aid in this investigation is encouraged to contact Investigator Bell with the Cold Case Taskforce at 831-759-6647 and referencing NamUs ID #UP99259.

A DNASolves crowdfund has been created to raise funds for the remaining casework costs. Anyone can contribute here.

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.