Lyon County Sheriff’s Office Teams with Othram to Identify a 2017 John Doe

The remains of a man discovered on the banks of the Neosho River in Kansas have been identified as Randy Bruce Clayton, born October 12, 1953.

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Published March 05 by Michael Vogen
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In April 2017, the Lyon County Sheriff's Office responded to a call that a skull had been found along the banks of the Neosho River following a period of recent rain in Lyon County, Kansas. Upon processing the scene, law enforcement located the skull and also discovered a large black trash bag that contained additional remains of the unidentified individual wrapped inside of a fitted bed sheet and comforter. A digital watch was also found inside of the trash bag.

Investigators were able to determine that the remains were that of a male.The man's hair color was noted as being blonde, white, or gray and was approximately 6 to 8 inches in length. Additionally, it was estimated that the middle-to-late aged man had scoliosis and was 5'5" tall at his time of death. The unknown man's year of death was likely between 2013 and 2016, and the cause of death is unclear, at this time.

In August 2017, details of the case were entered into the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) as #UP16928. Over the years, investigators diligently worked to identify Neosho Rapids John Doe. However, the identity of the man remained unknown.

In 2022, the Lyon County Sheriff's Office investigators partnered with Othram to determine if advanced forensic DNA testing could help to identify the man. Forensic evidence was submitted to Othram in The Woodlands, Texas. Othram scientists successfully developed a DNA extract from the evidence and then used Forensic-Grade Genome Sequencing® to build a comprehensive DNA profile for the homicide victim. Othram's in-house forensic genetic genealogy team used the profile in a genetic genealogy search to develop new investigative leads that were returned to law enforcement.

Using these new leads, Lyon County Sheriff’s detectives conducted a follow-up investigation and made contact with a potential relative of the murdered man. Follow-up DNA testing confirmed the identity of the man as Randy Bruce Clayton, born October 12, 1953. Clayton was from the Phoenix area and lived in Oklahoma.

If you knew Randy or have any information, no matter how insignificant it may seem, you’re asked to contact the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office by calling 620-341-4380 or emailing

A portion of the casework costs associated with Othram's testing and investigative research were contributed by donors through a DNASolves® crowdfund with the remaining amount contributed by law enforcement. We are grateful to everyone that helped crowdfund this case and other DNASolves cases.

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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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.