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.