Marin County Sheriff-Coroner & California DOJ Team with Othram to Identify a 1982 John Doe

After 42 years, a man whose remains were discovered in the Muir Woods near Deer Park Fire Trail in Marin County, California, has been identified as Sigvard Swanson, born February 4th, 1908.

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Published June 25 by Michael Vogen
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In November 1982, the skeletal remains of an unidentified individual were discovered in the Muir Woods National Monument, near the Deer Park Fire Trail in Marin County, California. Muir Woods National Monument, known for its redwood trees, is part of California’s Golden Gate National Recreation Area, and is located just northwest of San Francisco. Investigators responded to the scene and determined that the remains were that of a male who was approximately 5’8” tall and likely between the ages of 60 and 70 years old. At the time of the man’s discovery, he was wearing a white collared shirt, gray socks, and a pair of size 11.5 white tennis shoes. The man could not be identified and became known as Marin County John Doe.

In April 2018, details of the case were entered into the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) as UP17746. Despite extensive efforts by law enforcement investigators to identify the man, no matches were found, and the case went cold due to a lack of viable leads.

In 2022, the California Department of Justice submitted forensic evidence to Othram in The Woodlands, Texas. Othram scientists successfully developed a DNA extract from the forensic evidence and used Forensic-Grade Genome Sequencing® to build a comprehensive DNA profile for the unknown man. Othram's casework costs for the case were provided by the Roads to Justice (RTJ) program. 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 a potential relative and compared to the DNA profile of the unknown man. This investigation led to the positive identification of the man, who is now known to be Sigvard Swanson, born February 4th, 1908. Swanson immigrated to the United States in 1926, arriving in New York from Sweden, with a final destination of San Francisco.

The identification of Sigvard Swanson represents the 40th case in the State of California where officials have publicly identified an individual using technology developed by Othram. Most recently in Lake Forest, California, Maritza Glean Grimmett, who went missing in 1979, was identified after 41 years.

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.