In November 1970, deputies responded to the Little Sandy Creek area, regarding human skeletal remains found by a hiker. Upon arriving, deputies confirmed the skeletal remains were human. The skeletal remains were burned, due to a recent brush fire. Detectives from the Specialized Investigations responded and assumed the investigation into the identity of the unidentified remains.
An autopsy was performed on the skeletal remains, but there was no evidence of foul play or injury to the skeletal remains. The skeletal remains were scorched post-mortem, and did not appear to be associated with the cause of death. The case was entered into the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) as UP2462. Due to the lack of identity of the skeletal remains, and no other investigative leads, the case went cold.
In November of 2022, the HCSO and the CA DOJ partnered with Othram Inc., a forensic genealogy lab, to determine if advanced forensic DNA testing could help establish an identity for the unidentified man or a close relative. With funding provided by Roads to Justice (RTJ), the CA DOJ sent Othram forensic evidence from the unknown man’s remains. Othram scientists used Forensic -Grade Genome Sequencing® to build a comprehensive DNA profile for the man. Once the profile was built, Othram’s in-house genealogy team used forensic genetic genealogy to produce investigative leads.
In January 2023, Othram reported the identity of two possible DNA relatives to the skeletal remains. One relative agreed to provide a voluntary specimen of his DNA for comparison. In March 2023, Cold Case investigators received notification from Othram, with the results from the relative’s DNA comparison and they were able to identify the unknown person from 1970 as James Hollowell Harvey, born January 1, 1913. He would have been 57 years old at the time his remains were found. Investigators contacted Harvey’s family and informed them of the identification.
The circumstances of Harvey's death continues to be investigated. Anyone with additional information is asked to contact Detective Edward Hernandez, Specialized Investigations Division – Homicide Detail at 909-890-4904. Callers can remain anonymous and contact WeTip at 800-78CRIME or www.wetip.com.