In October 2016, the remains of a man, described as middle-aged or older and white or possibly Hispanic/Latino, were recovered from a parkside reservoir in The Woodlands, Texas. No evidence or information was found that could point investigators to his identity.
Montgomery County Forensic Services attempted to identify the man using fingerprints and CODIS testing, but traditional approaches were unsuccessful in producing any further leads. Medical hardware was identified on the remains; however, no records were found with the vendor or local hospitals. A press release issued through the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office failed to generate any leads. After exhausting available identification methods, including initial DNA testing, the case was logged in NamUs as UP15919.
In late 2020, Montgomery County Forensic Services partnered with Othram to develop new leads in the case. Using data collected through previous DNA testing efforts for the case, scientists at Othram performed forensic restoration of the existing data, and constructed a new genealogical profile in order to find potential genetic relatives of the unknown man. Working from distant genetic matches (beyond second cousin) and through Mennonite and French Canadian familial records, Othram’s internal research team produced a new lead for investigators. Together with Othram, Taylor Nichols and Dr. Kathryn Pinneri at Montgomery County Forensic Services confirmed the identity of the unknown man as James Edward St. Peters, providing closure for the family.
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 recovery, 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. Visit dnasolves.com to learn how anyone can make a difference in helping solve the next cold case.