In June 2017, the partial remains of an unidentified individual were found in San Clemente, California at a construction site. Law enforcement responded to the scene, and discovered a human skull that had been found by workers. It was determined that the remains were that of a female estimated to be between the ages of 30 and 50 years. No other identifying information for the individual could be determined.
Details of the case were entered into the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) as UP55049. Despite law enforcement’s efforts, the woman could not be identified, and she became known as San Clemente Jane Doe (2017).
The California Department of Justice (CA DOJ) once again partnered with Othram to determine if advanced forensic DNA testing could help establish an identity for the unidentified woman. CA DOJ has previously partnered with Othram on multiple cases, including the identification of Denise Gail Cruz and Rodney Alan Rumsey.
In December 2022, using funding provided by the Roads to Justice (RTJ) program, the Orange County Sheriff's Department & Coroner Division, working in conjunction with the California Department of Justice , submitted forensic evidence to Othram in The Woodlands, Texas. Othram scientists used Forensic-Grade Genome Sequencing® to build a comprehensive DNA profile for the unknown woman. Initial analysis revealed that woman's biogeographical ancestry was largely East Asian. Othram’s in-house genealogy team used the DNA profile in conjunction with forensic genetic genealogy to produce new investigative leads, which were returned to law enforcement.
Using these new leads, law enforcement conducted a follow-up investigation. This follow-up investigation led to relatives of the unidentified woman. Follow up confirmation testing then enabled a positive ID. The woman had been reported missing prior to the discovery of her remains. At the request of family, the identity of the woman will not be released at this time.
Today, there are almost 15,000 unidentified human remains cases in the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs). NamUs is a national clearinghouse funded and administered by the National Institute of Justice and managed through a contract with RTI International that assists the criminal justice community with the investigation and resolution of missing, unidentified, and unclaimed persons cases across the United States and its territories.