Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office Teams with Othram to Identify a 2022 John Doe

A man whose remains were discovered floating in the Columbia River in Woodland, Washington, has been identified as 34-year-old Pierre Antonio Pearson.

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Published May 29, 2024 by Michael Vogen
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In June 2022, two fishermen discovered the remains of an unidentified individual floating in the Columbia River. The discovery was made near a bar in Woodland, Washington, just north of the Oregon border. Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office responded to the scene and recovered the remains. An examination of the body by the Cowlitz County Coroner’s Office showed no signs of trauma. It was determined that the remains were that of a black male who was 5’ 9” tall and between the ages of 25 and 35 years. Although facial identification and fingerprints were not available, the man had multiple tattoos on various parts of his body, including what is believed to be the names “Felic,” “Emanual,” and “Cristian”.

In September 2022, details of the case were entered into the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) as UP95240. Despite extensive efforts by law enforcement investigators to identify the man, no matches were found and the man came to be known as Woodland Columbia River John Doe.

In 2022, in their continued efforts to identify the man, the Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office submitted forensic evidence to Othram in The Woodlands, Texas. Othram scientists successfully developed a DNA extract from the forensic evidence, and then used Forensic-Grade Genome Sequencing® to build a comprehensive genealogical profile for the man. Othram’s in-house forensic genetic genealogy team then used this profile to conduct genealogy research, ultimately providing new investigative leads to law enforcement.

Using this new information, a follow-up investigation was conducted leading investigators to potential relatives of the man. Reference DNA samples were collected from the potential relatives and compared to the DNA profile of the unknown man. This investigation led to the positive identification of Woodland Columbia River John Doe, who is now known to be 34-year-old Pierre Antonio Pearson. Pearson was originally from Georgia and was known to be in Portland prior to his death. He last contacted family in April of 2021. There is no indication that Pearson died as a result of a crime and the investigation is now closed.

The identification of Pierre Antonio Pearson represents the 30th case in the State of Washington where officials have publicly identified an individual using technology developed by Othram. Most recently in Kalama, Washington, Barry Michael Rezansoff who was reported missing in January 2022 following an undiagnosed illness and the May 2020 death of his wife.

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