Will County Coroner’s Office Teams with Othram to Identify 1998 John Doe

More than two decades later, the identity of a homicide victim whose remains were found in Will County, Illinois is unknown.
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Published July 10, 2023 by Michael Vogen
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In 1998, a human skull was discovered by a truck driver walking through a remote wooded area behind a truck stop just off Interstate 55/State Route 53 in Bolingbrook, a southwest suburb of Chicago, Illinois. The 100-acre field was thoroughly searched by investigators and they found approximately half of a human skeleton. Several articles of clothing and accessories were found among skeletal remains, including a pair of 9-9.5 Nike Air Force Max shoes, an extra-large light blue nylon Starter jacket, blue jeans, and a 32” Levi Silver Tab belt. Additionally, a Motorola pager, purchased on the South Side of Chicago, was found near the body.

Investigators determined the remains likely belonged to an African American male who died of a single gunshot wound to the head, with evidence indicating possible foul play. It was determined that the man died one to five years prior to the discovery of his remains; investigators believe that he most likely did not die prior to April 25, 1993. The man was estimated to have been between 18 to 24 years of age at the time of his death. He was 5’ 5” to 5’ 11” tall and weighed 160 to 175 lbs, had black hair, and a pronounced overbite. There was evidence of a healed fracture to the man's left foot.

In 2009, the details of this case were entered into the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) as #UP5207. A forensic sketch was created to depict what the man may looked like during his life. Despite the available evidence and diligent work of investigators, the case eventually went cold.

In 2023, the Will County Coroner’s Office partnered with Othram in hopes that advanced DNA testing will help to identify the man who has been unnamed for over two decades. Anyone with information that could be useful is encouraged to contact the Will County Coroner’s Office by calling 815-727-8455 and referencing case number 160-98 or NamUs #UP5207.

A DNASolves crowdfund has been established to cover the casework costs. Anyone can contribute here.

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.