Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office & California DOJ Partner with Othram to Identify 1982 Homicide Victim

After 41 years, an unidentified man who was found in a California state park has been identified as Rodney Alan Rumsey of Woodland, CA.

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Published October 17, 2023 by Michael Vogen
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In October 1982, a hiker located an unidentified body on an embankment above the Moore Creek outlet within Natural Bridges State Park in Santa Cruz County, California. An examination of the scene led investigators to conclude that the victim’s death was likely a homicide. Investigators believed the the body belonged to a white male, estimated to be between 5’6” and 5’8” tall and 150lbs. The unidentified man likely had brown/blond hair. The man also had a tattoo of a red rose with three green leaves on his left forearm and a tattoo of an Indian skull on his right forearm. The tips of the feathers and the eye sockets on the skull tattoo were red in color and the remainder of the tattoo was black ink.

An investigation was launched by the Santa Cruz Police Department and the Santa Cruz County Sheriff–Coroner’s Office. Details of the case were entered in the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) as UP3060. Initially investigators were hopeful that the man's description and the tattoos would help generate leads that could identify him. However, despite the exhaustive efforts of law enforcement, the identity of the man remained unknown for decades.

In 2022, the California Department of Justice, in collaboration with the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office, submitted forensic evidence to Othram, in hopes that advanced DNA testing could assist with the identification of the unknown man. Othram's costs for processing the casework were provided by the Roads to Justice (RTJ) program. With evidence in hand, Othram scientists developed a DNA extract from the forensic evidence and then developed a comprehensive DNA profile for the man, using Forensic-Grade Genome Sequencing®. Once the profile was succesfully built, Othram’s in-house forensic genetic genealogy team produced new investigative leads that were provided to law enforcement.

Using these new leads, law enforcement continued the investigation reaching out to potential family members. They were then able to identify the man as Rodney Alan Rumsey of Sacramento, CA. Rumsey was born May 25, 1954, but details of his life are sparse. An investigation into the circumstances around Rumsey's death continues.

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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.