In May 2016, the remains of an unidentified murdered man were recovered from the Ohio River in Daviess County, Kentucky. The Ohio River forms the boundary between the states of Kentucky and Indiana. The man’s remains were found near those of a woman, who was identified at the time of discovery. The unknown man’s remains were sent to the Office of the State Medical Examiner in Louisville, Kentucky for further examination. Due to the condition of his remains, few identifying characteristics could be determined. Investigators concluded that the man had black hair and that he likely suffered from a fracture to the skull or eye socket during his life. The man’s death was ruled a homicide.
In May 2016, details of the case were entered into the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) as UP15138. Despite the investigative efforts of law enforcement, little could be determined about the man's identity and he became known as Daviess County John Doe. With leads exhausted, the case eventually went cold.
In 2022, the Indiana State Police submitted forensic evidence to Othram in The Woodlands, Texas. Othram scientists developed a suitable DNA extract from the evidence and then used Forensic-Grade Genome Sequencing® to build a comprehensive DNA profile for the unidentified man. Othram's in-house forensic genetic genealogy team used the profile in a genetic genealogy search to develop investigative leads that were returned to detectives with the Indiana State Police. Detectives used these new leads to continue their search for the man's identity.
Using these new leads, investigators contacted potential family members of Daviess County John Doe and have now positively identified the man as Wilbur Allen Grant of Louisville, Kentucky. Grant was born August 9, 1960. In 2016, Grant’s family became concerned for his safety after he stopped answering his phone and he was reported missing at that time. An investigation into Grant’s death continues. Anyone with any information regarding this investigation should contact Indiana State Police at 317-232-8248.
Funding for the advanced DNA testing and forensic genetic genealogy used in this case was provided by NamUs, a national clearinghouse 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. NamUs is funded and administered by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) and is managed through a contract with Research Triangle Institute International. We are grateful for the support of RTI, NamUs, and the NIJ.