Saginaw County Sheriff's Office Partners with Othram to Identify John Doe Discovered in 2018

The unknown man has left few clues to his identity and it is hoped that advanced DNA testing will help connect him back to his family


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Published October 20, 2021 by Michael Vogen
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In September 2018, the owner of a wooded piece of land in Chapin Township, MI, was checking game cameras and discovered the remains of an unidentified man. The unidentified man had been fully skeletonized by the time he was discovered, suggesting a time of death at around 1-5 years prior to discovery. An autopsy confirmed that the cause of death was severe blunt force trauma. The state of decomposition made it difficult to confirm the man's physical attributes, but pathologists were able to determine that the man was likely an adult male between the ages of 25 and 55, who stood at around 5’10 feet tall. There was no definitive assessment of biogeographical ancestry. The unknown man was fully clothed and had black Sketchers work boots, a 32-inch Calvin Klein belt, and a Boston Trader’s sweatshirt.

Forensic anthropologists and police investigators believe the man's death could be a homicide. Many of his bones were broken, consistent with the unknown man being severely beaten, hit by a vehicle, or falling from a high point. Investigators are hopeful that identifying this man may lead to answers surrounding his mysterious death. So far, investigators have exhausted all available leads, including DNA testing through CODIS.

In 2021, Saginaw County Sheriff’s Office partnered with Othram to use advanced DNA testing to establish an identification of, or to find nearest kin to the unidentified man. Anyone with information about this man or the circumstances of his death is encouraged to contact the Saginaw Sheriff's Office at (989) 790-5404. A DNASolves Crowdfund has been established to cover the costs of testing for this case. The case has been logged in NamUs as UP55392.

Michael Vogen

Michael Vogen

Director of Case Management

(832) 906-4247
8301 New Trails Dr Ste 110, The Woodlands, TX 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.

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 recovery, 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.

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