Knox County Regional Forensic Center Teams with Othram to Identify a 2022 John Doe

A man discovered by a landscaper and property owner near the Marble City Outdoor Classroom in Knoxville, Tennessee, has been identified as 34-year-old Tony A. Brown Jr, born March 20, 1988.

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Published May 14, 2024 by Michael Vogen
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In September 2022, the skeletal remains of an unidentified individual were discovered by a landscaper and property owner near the Marble City Outdoor Classroom in Knoxville, Tennessee. The Knoxville Police Department responded to the scene. The Knox County Regional Forensic Science Center transported the remains and determined that they were that of a male who was 6 feet tall. The man was between the ages of 38 and 55 years old. An autopsy report revealed that no foul play was involved with the death, but no one could identify the man.

At the time of the man’s discovery, he was wearing multiple beaded bracelets, a leather bracelet with round metal details, a white watch with colorful numbers, an Atlanta Braves lanyard, a black beaded necklace, a black long-sleeve shirt, green Michigan State University Nike shorts, black jogger sweatpants, yellow and black Jordan tennis shoes, a teal Vancouver Grizzlies hat and a black WVLT backpack. He also had a navy sleeping bag and a blue moving blanket.

Details of the case were entered into the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) as UP96318. Throughout the course of the investigation, investigators used radiographs and dental x-rays from missing individuals in the area, but their efforts did not yield a match. 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.

“No one is forgotten or neglected at the Knox County Regional Forensic Center.”
-Chris Thomas, Chief Administrative Officer
In 2024, the Knox County Regional Forensic Center submitted forensic evidence to Othram in the Woodlands, Texas to determine if advanced DNA testing could help identify the man. Othram scientists successfully developed a suitable DNA extract from the skeletal remains and then used Forensic-Grade Genome Sequencing® to build a comprehensive DNA profile for the unidentified man. After successfully completing the process, Othram’s in-house forensic genetic genealogy team then leveraged this profile to conduct genetic genealogy research, ultimately providing critical leads to the Knox County Regional Forensic Center.

Using this new information, a follow-up investigation was conducted leading investigators to potential relatives of the man. Reference DNA samples were collected from the potential relatives 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 Tony A. Brown Jr. Brown was born March 20, 1988.

The identification of Tony A. Brown Jr. represents the 13th case in the State of Tennessee where officials have publicly identified an individual using technology developed by Othram. Most recently in Knoxville, Elbert Louis Brown, who died in a pedestrian accident and was unidentified for three decades.

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.