In December 2017 and January 2018, the partial remains of an unknown individual washed ashore near Four Mile Rock in Seattle, Washington. Four Mile Rock is located on the shore of the Puget Sound and is fully accessible at low tide. The Seattle Police Department responded to the scene. An autopsy revealed that the remains belonged to a male individual, who was between the ages of 30 and 60 years at his time of death. While the man’s weight could not be determined, it was estimated that the man was between 5’8” and 5’11” in height and he likely died in 2016 or 2017. Investigators found black Adidas brand underwear and black Air Jordan high top tennis shoes on the individual’s body.
After the discovery of the man’s remains, a remote-operated underwater vessel searched the area, but did not find any additional forensic evidence. Despite the extensive efforts of law enforcement, the man’s identity remained a mystery. A forensic reconstruction was created to depict how the man may have looked during his life. Details of the missing person case were entered into the National Missing and Unidentified Persons database (NamUs) as UP17874. The man was never identified and the case went cold.
In 2023, the Seattle Police Department submitted forensic evidence to Othram in The Woodlands, Texas. The services provided by Othram for this case were funded through crowdfunding donations made to the Seattle Police Foundation. We are grateful to those who donated and for the support from the Seattle Police Foundation.
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 man. 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.
In a follow-up investigation, investigators made contact with potential relatives of the man and were able to obtain a familial DNA reference sample. The reference sample was then submitted to Othram for comparison against the DNA of the unidentified man using KinSNP® Rapid Relationship Familial Testing. King County John Doe is now known to be 33-year-old Paul J. Bossart, Jr, who was originally from Illinois. Paul's family indicated that he had left home in November 2017, with plans to relocate to Seattle and was never heard from again. The circumstances of how the man ended up in the water are still under investigation.
Anyone with information that could aid in this investigation is encouraged to contact the Seattle Police Department at 206-684-5555 and reference agency case number 2017-471235.