Putnam County Sheriff's Office Teams with Othram to Identify 1980 Homicide Victim

After 43 years, the identity of a man whose remains were found in Pomona Park, Florida has been identified as homicide victim William Irving Monroe, III.

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Published March 08, 2024 by Michael Vogen
Media Inquiries


In December 1980, the remains of an unidentified man were discovered in Pomona Park, a city in Putnam County, Florida. During a routine patrol, a deputy found the body of a partially-buried individual near Sisco Road and Broward Lake Roan. It was determined that the remains were that of a male estimated to be 5' 6" tall and approximately 160 pounds. The man died from a gunshot wound to the neck about two to three weeks before his body was discovered.

The man had no identification on him and through interviews it was believed that he was a migrant worker. He was last seen alive on November 15, 1980 when a convenience store clerk stated she saw him in her store. Also, a driver for Simmons’ Labor Camp in Pomona Park confirmed he had picked up a person with the same clothing description as the victim in Orlando to work at the farm about three days prior to his disappearance. The driver said he believed the man had wandered off the property.

Following an autopsy, which confirmed that the man’s death was due to homicide, John Doe #36 was buried with a metal marker in the Lake Como/Pomona Park cemetery. Details of the case were entered into the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) as UP1291. Despite investigators attempts to identify the man, the case went cold and the man could not be identified. In February 2023, while reviewing cold cases, Captain Chris Stallings with the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office reviewed the evidence left in this case and contacted Othram to see if advanced DNA testing and forensic genetic genealogy could be used to identify the murdered man.

In March 2023, the Putnam County Sheriff's Office submitted forensic evidence to Othram's laboratory in The Woodlands, Texas. Despite the degradation of the original evidence, Othram scientists successfully developed a DNA extract from the forensic evidence and used Forensic-Grade Genome Sequencing® to develop a comprehensive DNA profile for the man. Othram's in-house forensic genetic genealogy team then used the profile in a genealogical search to generate new investigative leads.

In January, these leads were returned to Putnam County Sheriff’s Office and a possible identity for the man as well as his potential relatives was provided. Investigators reached out to a man, who was eventually identified as being John Doe’s brother. Using this information along with confirmatory DNA testing, John Doe 36 is now known to be William Irving Monroe, III.

William is believed to have lived in Orlando at the time he was picked up by the labor camp van and that he may have been in Pomona Park because his ex-wife and children were living in the area. William has several ties to Putnam County, including speeding tickets in the decade prior to his murder. William’s family confirmed that he stopped contacting his family in 1980, and they did not know his whereabouts. William was a United States Marine, serving during the Vietnam War time.

This is a developing case, and at this time there are no suspects and no persons of interest in the case. In light of the identification of William Monroe, the case is no longer deemed to be a cold case and investigators are looking for more information on his interactions within the community. Anyone with information on William Irving Monroe III, his time in Putnam or his murder is asked to contact CrimeStoppers of NE Florida at 1-888-277-8477 or download the P3 app. Tips are anonymous and eligible for a reward if leading to an arrest.

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.