Ontario Provincial Police & Toronto Police Service Leverage Othram's Genetic Testing Platform to Identify Deep River John Doe

Advanced DNA testing and forensic genetic genealogy have helped identify a man whose body was discovered in 2001 in a remote area of the Laurentian Hills.

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Published December 09, 2023 by Michael Vogen
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In September 2001, Ontario Provincial Police found the body of a man in an outhouse on a cross-country ski trail. The body was found near Deep River, Ontario located in the Laurentian Hills. The man was wearing Pepe brand blue jeans, a black Fundamentals shirt, a long-sleeved dark blue cotton shirt, black Replay running shoes, and a black leather Calvin Klein belt. He also wore a silver ring with an aquamarine stone on his right little finger and had a blue Levi's pocket watch with a built-in compass. His possessions also included Copper Koh Sakai glasses with reflective lenses, a blue nylon Eagle Creek backpack containing a candle, lantern, mini flashlight, a water container, protein bars from a GNC store, and $60 in cash.

A post-mortem examination conducted in 2001 concluded that the man died due to a medical condition, likely ruling out foul play. Investigators believe that the man was found within a few days of his death. Investigators could not find anyone that recognized him or could identify him. The details of the case were checked against missing person reports and fingerprint records across Canada and the United States, but ultimately he could not be identified and the case eventually went cold.

In 2023, the Ontario Provincial Police, in collaboration with the Ontario Forensic Pathology Service and the Office of the Chief Coroner, teamed with the Toronto Police Service and Othram, to leverage forensic genetic genealogy to identify the unknown man. Forensic evidence was sent to Othram's laboratory in The Woodlands, Texas and Othram scientists used Forensic-Grade Genome Sequencing® to build a comprehensive DNA profile for the unknown man. Once the profile was developed, the Toronto Police Service used the profile in a genetic genealogy search to identify new leads in the case.

The leads along with a follow up investigation enabled law enforcement to locate the man's family and his identity was confirmed through additional DNA testing. Out of respect for the family's privacy, investigators have not released the man's name. The reason for his presence in the area where his body was found remains unknown.

The successful identification of this individual was made possible via a funding award from the Solicitor General, which supports the Toronto Police Service in providing forensic genetic genealogy services across Ontario for cases involving unidentified human remains, historical homicide, and sex assault. Othram is honored to be able to provide forensic DNA testing services for this effort.

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 Othram.com to learn how we can help you with your case. With dnasolves.com anyone can make a difference and help solve the next cold case.