Spokane Medical Examiner's Office Teams with Othram to Identify a 1984 John Doe

Human remains discovered in 1984 in Spokane, Washington have been identified as part of the Spokane Medical Examiner's efforts to clear their backlog of unidentified human remains.

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Published December 11, 2023 by Michael Vogen
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In September 1984, the partial remains of an unidentified individual were found near the area of 5000 East Trent Street in Spokane, Washington. Police recovered the individual's remains and turned them over to the Spokane County Medical Examiner’s Office for investigation and identification. It was determined that the remains were that of a male. Based on the evidence recovered at the scene, no identifying characteristics or other information could be determined for the individual.

Details of the case were uploaded to the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) as UP93149. With few leads to follow, the case went unsolved. For nearly four decades, the person’s identity was a mystery.

In 2022, the Spokane County Medical Examiner’s Office once again teamed with Othram to use advanced DNA testing and forensic genetic genealogy to identify the unknown individual. Forensic evidence was sent to Othram's laboratory in The Woodlands, Texas. Othram scientists developed a DNA extract that was used with Forensic-Grade Genome Sequencing® to build a comprehensive DNA profile for the unknown man. Othram's in-house forensic genetic genealogy team used the profile in a genetic genealogy search to develop new investigative leads that were returned to the Spokane Medical Examiner's Office. These leads along with a follow up investigation enabled the agency to locate the man's family and confirm his identity. Out of respect for the family's wishes, investigators have not released the man's name.

In August 2022, the Spokane Medical Examiner’s Office received American Rescue Plan funds to help identify human remains using forensic genetic genealogy. Using these funds, the Spokane Medical Examiner’s Office has teamed with Othram on multiple cases, including the recent identifications of Clifford Wayne Bippes, Juanes Gaspar, and Bruce Frank Sherman. We are grateful for their willingness to collaborate and desire to solve these cases.

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 Othram.com to learn how we can help you with your case. With dnasolves.com anyone can make a difference and help solve the next cold case.