Othram in the News
Authorities working to identify foot in shoe that washed up on Port Angeles shore in 2021
The Clallam County Sheriff's Office is asking the public for donations to pay for a DNA analysis of a foot still in a shoe that washed ashore near the mouth of the Elwha River in Port Angeles in 2021. In 2022, the Clallam County Sheriff's Office partnered with Othram to determine if advanced forensic DNA testing could help establish an identity for the woman or possibly a close relative. A DNASolves crowdfund has been created to cover the cost of the testing and casework. DNASolves works exclusively with law enforcement to facilitate fundraising for Othram's services.
Opelika Jane Doe identified after 11 years: Father and his wife arrested
After more than a decade of searching for the identity of a young girl whose skeletal remains were found in an Opelika trailer park, authorities now know who she is and have arrested her father and his wife. Opelika Jane Doe, also known as Baby Jane, who investigators long suspected was abused, neglected and likely the victim of homicide, has been identified as Amore Joveh Wiggins. Investigators were able to put the pieces together with the help of Othram Inc., a Texas-based company that uses highly-specialized DNA sequencing and genomics to advance biometrics and human identification.
Advanced DNA technology may help solve 1979 Bastrop County cold case
The Bastrop County Sheriff's Office is trying to solve a decades-old cold case with the help of advanced DNA testing technology. They're trying to identify the body of a "Jane Doe" discovered in 1979. The Sheriff's Office is partnering with the company Othram to see if advanced DNA testing can help identify the woman. Othram founder and CEO David Mittelman says their lab is the only one of its kind in North America. "We can access information from evidence that's been previously considered unusable or unworkable," he said. The lab does forensic-grade genome sequencing to make a digital profile. “We're in a constant state of iteration, and I think that'll continue as this technology becomes more robust," Mittelman said. As for Jane Doe, the hope is there will be answers soon.
The State of Biotech Recap
“The State of Biotech” was a celebration of innovation, emerging technologies, and clinical successes, as well as an appraisal of the headwinds and challenges facing the industry. “There are so many ways to do good in the world,” David Mittelman, PhD, founder and CEO of Othram said. “Othram uses DNA testing and advanced genomics not in biomedicine—but in this really interesting field of forensics.” Othram’s crime-solving technology—based on advances in next-generation sequencing, informatics, and genealogy—has been critical in helping police departments solve a string of high-profile cold cases, some dating back decades.
Remains found in 2008 identified as Yakama woman missing since 1987
Human remains found in November 2008 in a remote area of the Yakama Reservation have been identified as those of a Yakama woman missing since late summer 1987. Yakima County coroner Jim Curtice said Wednesday the remains found on Nov. 26, 2008, west of White Swan have been confirmed by DNA analysis as Daisy Mae Heath, 29, who grew up in White Swan as Daisy Tallman and was living there when she disappeared. She was reported missing on Oct. 29, 1987. Testing was completed by Othram Laboratories, a private DNA laboratory in Texas known for identifying people whose remains have been unidentified for decades.
Kentucky State Police Forensic Lab Utilizes DNA Technology to Identify Missing Person
The Kentucky State Police (KSP) Forensic Lab partnered with Othram Inc. using advanced DNA testing to establish an identity for a victim in an unsolved case. Recently, KSP positively identified a “Jane Doe” recovered along a roadside in rural Owen County from 1988 as Linda Bennett. In May 1988, a couple from Owenton spotted an unresponsive woman while on a walk, which resulted in KSP opening an investigation. Detectives determined that her death was a homicide; however, they were unable to identify the victim. The case has remained open throughout the years, in hope that someday the victim may be identified as technology progressed. KSP detectives partnered with multiple groups to solve the case. Othram provided recovery, enrichment, and analysis of human DNA that was able to match Bennett.
Tragedy of the runaway boy who nobody missed: California cops FINALLY identify 15-year-old whose murdered body was found on Long Beach sidewalk in 1978
A boy who was found dead on a Los Angeles street more than 40 years ago has finally been identified as a runaway teen who was never reported missing. For 44 years the unidentified body of Williams was only known as 'John Doe' despite several generations of Long Beach homicide detectives making attempts to identify the 15-year-old. It wasn't until the boy's skeletal remains were used for Forensic-Grade Genome Sequencing that the identification process led to a close relative match, narrowing the search to a family member. Badly degraded and chemically damaged skeletal evidence was sent to Othram's lab in The Woodlands, Texas. This skeletal evidence failed prior attempts to make a match, but Othram was able to develop a suitable DNA extract for testing.
Teen boy found dead 44 years ago in Long Beach identified as runaway from La Puente
More than four decades after police found the body of a teen boy on a Long Beach street, investigators have now learned his identity, all with the help of advanced DNA technology. The boy, who was found dead on June 3, 1978 along Division Street near Corona Avenue, was identified as Kenneth Nevada Williams, a 15-year-old who had run away from his home in La Puente. To help in its investigation, the FBI reached out to Othram, a lab in Texas that specializes in forensic genealogy to solve unsolved murders. "We sequenced that DNA and we were able to get a profile uploaded to the genealogical databases that led to a close family match that led to the identity of Kenneth," said Dr. Kristen Mittelman, a chief development officer at Othram.
Humber College and Othram partner to create and measure social impact of unsolved cases on families and community
A new collaboration between Humber College and Othram will measure social and criminal justice impact and develop tools to support law enforcement and the development of programs to educate future forensic professionals.
Woman found slain in 1993 is identified through genetic genealogy
In December 1993, a land surveyor found a woman’s skeletal remains among the trees. The Fairfax homicide unit worked the case for years, just trying to figure out who the woman was. The rapidly evolving science of genetic genealogy has provided an answer: Sharon Kay Abbott Lane, a mother of two who was raised in northwest Indiana, and lived for a time in Big Stone Gap, Virginia, was the homicide victim. The Fairfax police again turned to Othram, a forensic lab based out of The Woodlands, Texas, to identify a woman who had been nameless for nearly three decades.
Remains of Wisconsin man who went missing in 1976 identified
Montana authorities said Tuesday that human remains found in Carbon County about 18 years ago have been identified as those of a Wisconsin hitchhiker who left his home state to flee legal trouble. The Carbon County Sheriff's Office said the remains of Rogers Lee Ellis were identified after state and federal agencies launched an extensive genealogy investigation this year. The investigation included sending skeletal remains to Othram, a private DNA lab in Texas, which used its technology to build a DNA profile that ultimately helped identify the remains.
Is man accused of two 1983 Toronto killings linked to more?
A violent, homicidal maniac who viciously sexually assaulted and stabbed 22-year-old career girl Erin Gilmour and 42-year-old single mom of four Susan Tice during a four-month period in 1983. And then, as quickly as he emerged, he faded into the shadows. On Monday, Toronto Police cold case detectives announced that they finally had a suspect. Joseph George Sutherland, 61, was arrested. Toronto investigators used the genetic testing company Othram, which built a family tree of the suspect’s nearest relatives, which led them to Sutherland.
How Texas lab Othram helped identify the Lady of the Dunes
For nearly 50 years, the Lady of the Dunes case was shrouded in mystery and legend. In 1974, the body of an unidentified woman was found near Provincetown’s Race Point. Without a name, she became the Lady of the Dunes. In 2022, everything changed when Special Agent in Charge Joseph Bonavolonta made an announcement: “We have identified the oldest unidentified homicide victim in Massachusetts, known as the Lady of the Dunes. She is Ruth Marie Terry.” All of it made possible by the work from a private DNA lab called Othram. “We work with evidence that most people would say DNA can’t be read from,” said Kristen Mittelman, Othram’s Chief Development Officer. Mittelman explains that Othram has developed a technique that can develop a DNA sequence from even the most difficult and degraded samples.
42 years later, authorities unmask identity of ‘Stilly Doe’
Spencer Fuentes, a farmer in Silvana, had found a body in the Stillaguamish River in July 1980. The man had likely been dead for months. Forty-two years later, he was finally identified. It was a case cracked by advances in DNA technology, paired with forensic genealogy research. In 2021, the medical examiner’s office began working with Othram, Inc. to obtain a DNA profile that could be used for genetic genealogy. Authorities confirmed the man’s name was Othaniel Philip Ames.
Maine State Police Make Arrest in 26-Year-Old Hancock Cold Case
The Maine State Police arrested 56-year-old Jason Follette on Wednesday in connection with the sexual assault of a now 47-year-old woman in Hancock that has gone unsolved for more than 25 years ago. The arrest was made possible by genetic testing equipment that was not available to law enforcement in 1996 at the time of the assault. The DNA sample was tested by Othram Inc. The results of that DNA test, along with further investigative work by MSP, identified Follette as the woman’s attacker.
After nearly 50 years, FBI identifies “Lady of the Dunes” murder victim
Earlier this year, skeletal evidence was sent to Othram's lab in Texas, which specializes in conducting forensic genealogy for unsolved murders and missing persons. Various chemical treatments from past attempts to extract forensic evidence of the remains had thwarted earlier efforts to build a DNA profile of the victim. Othram eventually derived a usable sample, despite the chemical damage and some microbial contamination. The FBI used the resulting DNA profile to search genealogical databases and eventually located a close relative.
How a forensic lab identified a homicide victim 50 years later
After nearly 50 years, investigators have finally confirmed the identity of the “Lady of the Dunes.” Othram, a forensic genealogy company based in Texas, received the remains earlier this year. Now the FBI will continue its search for Terry’s killer.
Piece by Piece: Murder victim’s remains identified more than 40 years later
More than 40 years after a murder victim’s remains are found in Cape Girardeau County, a family in Texas can finally grieve and say goodbye. The man convicted of killing Travis died in prison years ago, but they never knew what really happened to him - until now. It took skill, luck and a southeast Missouri college professor working alongside her students to find the answers, piece by piece.
National DNA Program partners with Othram to use forensic genetic genealogy for unsolved Australian cases
The AFP will have access to specialised forensic DNA testing, not currently available in Australia, to identify human remains and develop new leads for unsolved crimes, by partnering with a world-leading forensic genomics laboratory.
Arkansas investigators identify 3 cold case victims through DNA evidence
Benton County Sheriff Shawn Holloway, prosecuting attorney Nathan Smith, and Benton County Lt. Hunter Petray held a press conference Tuesday, Oct. 25, to give an update on three cold cases. Sheriff Holloway said genetic genealogy and the county's partnership with Othram, Inc. helped identify the victims in cold case murders from 1981, 1990 and 1996. Investigators say these are the only unidentified bodies that the sheriff's office had in Benton County. What made the identification of two victims particularly difficult, Lt. Petray said, was that only one of the victims was reported missing. The other two were not reported missing, and none were in any national missing person's database.
Skull identified more than 30 years after it was found by hunter in Southeast Idaho
In October 1986, a hunter in Oneida County found the skull of an unknown victim 400-500 yards away from where partial remains of two teenage girls from Pocatello were found in 1981. This unknown skull was initially identified as a third victim, possibly of mixed-race descent according to experts in the 1980s. For years, the public wondered and speculated as to her identity. Last year, members of the Idaho Cold Cases Facebook page donated $5,000 towards the forensic identification of this skull by Othram Labs in Texas. The skull has been 100% positively identified as that of Patricia Campbell.
Will County cold case: Investigators find new hope in identifying man murdered decades ago
In July 1980, Will County investigators found a man's body in a wooden crate in the Sanitary and Shipping Canal near Lockport. Decades have passed with no leads, but a DNA extraction and research company is giving investigators new hope. "They don't know who he is. All they have is skeletal remains," said David Mittelman, CEO of Othram, a forensic DNA testing company based in Texas. Various leads over the years have led nowhere. So why is this team from Will County — 42 years later — suddenly optimistic they'll solve the case? The short answer is: they're two-for-two working with Othram, which extracts DNA from skeletal remains, then creates a DNA profile by doing a genealogical search of public databases.
Monroe County homicide victim Steven Gabbard identified through DNA
DNA has been used to identify homicide 38-year-old victim Steven Gabbard of Louisville, Kentucky, according to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office. The MCSO released the following Monday: “The [MCSO] has made positive identification of skeletal remains found in 2004. [MCSO] investigators recently obtained funding for a forensic genealogy DNA examination through Othram. [...] Through the years, attempts to identify these remains was made by entry of DNA into a federal database; facial reconstruction through forensic computer programs and modeling clay methods; and numerous press releases requesting assistance had been conducted. In 2022, [...], Othram requested a DNA comparison with Steven Gabbard’s nephew with the remains from 2004.
COLD CASE CONVICTION: Queens man guilty in WWI vet's 'gruesome' 1976 killing
A Queens man pleaded guilty Tuesday to killing an 81-year-old World War I veteran in a stunning cold case that spanned 45 years and five U.S. states before it was smashed open by DNA evidence. Investigators first compared the DNA profile to local, state and national databases, but that was a dead end. In 2020, the Queens District Attorney’s Office and NYPD began working with the FBI and Othram Laboratories, to generate new leads. In 2021, Othram used advanced DNA testing to produce “a comprehensive genealogical profile from the skeletal remains,” Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz said. The profile was sent to the FBI, which generated new leads that were turned over to the DA’s office and the NYPD. Investigators were able to confirm the remains were those of George Clarence Seitz.
Idaho 'Jane Doe' case from 2014 solved
In a case that made headlines more than eight years ago, DNA evidence has revealed the body of a woman found in the Snake River below the Perrine Bridge to be that of a San Diego resident, police say. "Jane Doe" was identified last month as Cynthia Gunnerson (aka Sash Ergateage). In December 2021, the Idaho Cold Case Advanced DNA Methods Working Group (ICCADM) contacted the sheriff 's office to offer assistance. In April, the group submitted a DNA sample from the unidentified female to labs at Othram Inc. of Woodland Texas, which generated a lead through forensic genetic genealogy testing. Results of tests gave deputies the information they needed, and they contacted the identified parents who submitted their DNA for further testing.
Remains found in Indiana in 1994 identified as Ohio woman
Human remains found in 1994 beneath a central Indiana bridge have been identified through DNA testing as those of an Ohio woman last seen by relatives earlier that year, officials said. The long-unidentified remains are those of Doreen M. Tiedman of Cleveland, Ohio, the Hancock County Sheriff's Department announced Wednesday. Detective Ted Munden with the sheriff's department worked with the Indiana State Police Laboratory, which used genetic genealogy to develop investigative leads. As part of the forensic detective work that led to the remains' identification, scientists at Othram Inc., a private forensic laboratory, built a comprehensive DNA profile for the woman.
Remains found in 1974 identified as missing Illinois man
Human remains discovered in 1974 near a northeastern Illinois creek have been identified through forensic DNA testing as a suburban Chicago man who vanished in the early 1970s, officials said. The remains are those of Donald M. Rozek of Harvey, Illinois, and Rozek's cause of death remains undetermined. The coroner’s office and the Will County Sheriff’s Office worked with Othram Inc. — a private laboratory that conducts advanced forensic DNA testing — to identify Rozek’s remains. After additional DNA profiling and genealogy work, Othram narrowed the search to an Illinois resident who was a possible nephew of the unidentified man.
Remains identified as those of 14-year-old girl who went missing in 1969. Pennsylvania police say the investigation "remains very active."
Remains found a decade ago have been identified as 14-year-old Joan Marie Dymond of Wilkes-Barre, who vanished in June 1969. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children released a likeness of the girl based on facial reconstruction images. Investigators sent the victim's DNA profile to national databases but got no matches. Othram, Inc. provided troopers with possible family members, including the family of Dymond, who provided DNA samples.
NamUs Selects Othram as a Forensic Genetic Genealogy Partner
Othram, the leading forensic sequencing laboratory for law enforcement, and the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs), a national information clearinghouse and resource center for missing, unidentified, and unclaimed person cases, today announced their partnership to develop and deploy forensic DNA testing tools to help reconnect missing and unidentified persons with their families.
Genealogy tests give answers to family of woman missing for 47 years
Veronique Duperly spent most of 1975 plastering posters of her younger sister’s high school yearbook picture onto street corners all around Fairfax County. Next to the photo, she typed: “Missing 17-year-old Choubi Gildawie.” Using forensic genealogy testing, detectives with the Fairfax County Police Department linked remains found 21 years ago to Gildawie. Police said potential leads about the female victim’s identity fell through for decades until they teamed up with forensic laboratory Othram Inc. — a company which they have used in the past. Othram scientists created a DNA profile for the victim that matched Duperly’s family tree.
DNA testing aids ACiSO in identifying a John Doe in 40+ year cold case
In 1979, the Alachua County Sheriff's Office (ACSO) says a state employee found a skeleton and a noose in the woods. Deputies say there was no way to identify the remains except through DNA. Several labs were unable to identify Doe through DNA testing. The victim remain unidentified until August of 2022. “My hope is to live in a world where the evidence is preserved until science can solve all of these cases, and give everyone answers,” Chief Development Officer for Othram Inc. Kristen Mittleman said. ACSO recruited the Texas based lab in 2021. “DNA testing is destructive and every single time you test evidence, you actually destroy the DNA and that evidence. People are still consuming evidence with techniques that don't work most of the time, and that's unacceptable,” Dr. Mittelman said.
State police: Headless, handless body found in Fishkill 42 years ago identified as NYC woman
A headless and handless body found in Fishkill 42 years ago was identified several months ago as a missing New York City woman. New York State Police say investigators had been working for the last 42 years to identify the body but were unable to do so due to technological and forensic limitations. However, an identifiable DNA sample was obtained by the FBI’s Investigative Genealogy Team, “in partnership with Othram, a private lab that specializes in cutting edge forensic DNA analysis.” On May 26, the victim was identified as Anna L. Papalardo-Blake. She was 44 at the time of her death.
In a 1988 Murder, DNA Is Used to Identify Both the Victim and Her Killer
In 1988, a young woman's body was found about five miles from the Alabama state line. Her identity and that of her killer would remain unknown for nearly 34 years. Now, with information from forensic genealogy testing, the authorities believe the victim to be Stacey Lyn Chahorski. They have also identified the killer, in a rare instance in which investigative genetic genealogy was used to identify both the victim and the killer in the same case. The use of genetic or forensic genealogy has grown in recent years. "The method has increasingly been used to solve violent crimes as the technology has been fine-tuned", said David Mittelman, the founder and CEO of Othram, the lab that built the profiles used to solve Ms. Chahorski's case.
Houston-area lab using new DNA technology in hopes to help solve cold cases
Kristen Mittelman with Othram said the company uses DNA sequencing and genomic technology to help identify victims and perpetrators for law enforcement. "You need a very small percentage of the population in order to be able to identify everyone. That small percentage of the population is already in these databases. If you left DNA at a crime scene, [...] you'll probably get caught." Othram's CEO, David Mittelman, welcomed ABC13 onto their campus earlier in April. There, he the cartridges used in their sequencer to build a DNA profile, which is taken from evidence often worn down with time or too tiny to extract with traditional methods.
Scientist explains identifying mysterious Indiana teen’s remains
A mystery is slowly being solved, and it's taking a multi-team effort. “The fact that no missing persons that matched the description were reported in the area, that also makes it difficult,” TBI Special Agent Brandon Elkins said in 2020. But after nearly four decades, remains were found of the missing teen, Tracy Sue Walker. “The difference between Tracy being unidentified versus identified was that we were able to combine the generosity of a philanthropist and cutting-edge genomic science,” Dr. David Mittelman, founder and CEO of Othram said.
Skeletal Remains Found In Tennessee Mountains In 1985 Identified As Missing Indiana Teen
It's been over 37 years since the remains of an unidentified young female were found in Tennessee. Thanks to genetic genealogy performed by Othram, the child has now been identified as 15-year-old Tracy Sue Walker. Investigators say the teen was reported missing from Indiana in 1978 — nearly 400 miles from where her body was found. “The case faced technical challenges and failed testing before it came to Othram, consuming evidence and funding,” said Kristen Mittelman, Chief Development Officer for Othram. “Fortunately, we have the [...] best-in-class testing at Othram to build a profile that helped investigators solve the case.”
Othram Appoints Carla Davis as Chief Genetic Genealogist
Othram is pleased to announce the appointment of Carla Davis as Chief Genetic Genealogist. Mrs. Davis will lead efforts to scale Othram's domestic and international genealogical research operations. Mrs. Davis joins Othram after a year-long collaboration in which she led genealogical efforts to restore names to unidentified persons in Virginia, Alabama, and her home state of Mississippi.
Bones in boxes, clues to 130 cold cases in North Carolina. Who were they?
When Leslie Kaufman walks through the forensics lab at N.C. State University, she sees a space that is sterile and clean — and filled with human remains. The room is filled with boxes of bones, each tagged with numbers — not names — of people who were discovered dead but unidentified. Kaufman is a co-founder of the North Carolina Unidentified Project. The project works to give names and identities back to the state's 130 unidentified bodies. To analyze the person's DNA and match them with a family tree, they work with Othram Labs to extract the DNA sample which is then given to Kaufman to match through DNA databases.
Modern tech turns to modern fundraising to solve Fairfax Co. cold case
Fairfax County Police in Virginia have been working with Texas-based Othram, which is now crowdfunding help to identify a woman who was found dead in Fairfax County nearly 30 years ago. Even today, there isn’t a lot that police know about the woman, whose remains were found in 1993. “What has us stumped is who she is,” said Major Ed O’Carroll with Fairfax County police. While her remains were discovered in 1993, “we do think that they were there for maybe one to as many as six years,” he said. Othram is crowdfunding for this case and others around the country, trying to help police departments cover some of the cost and still get the answers they’re looking for.
DNA Identifies Suspect In Elderly Texas Woman's 1989 Strangulation Murder
Mary Hague Kelly was found strangled to death at her home in 1989. In 2004, DNA testing yielded no results. The Dallas County DA's Office enlisted the help of Othram in 2021. Othram used forensic-grade genome sequencing to develop a profile of the suspect, which led to an arrest - more than three decades after Kelly's murder. The work of Othram was praised in a statement. "In the last 33 years, countless people have put in hundreds of hours of investigative work on the Mary Kelly cold case murder, but at the end of the day, it was Othram that solved this difficult case. [...] The case does not get solved without them."
She died and became the ‘Christmas Tree Lady.’ Now we know her name.
Many mysteries remain about the woman found dead in a Fairfax County cemetery in 1996, but one has just been solved: her identity. For a quarter-century, the unidentified woman in Pleasant Valley Memorial Park was known as 'the Christmas Tree Lady,' because she had placed a small Christmas tree on a blanket next to her. Fairfax police tried for years to identify the woman. In recent years genetic genealogy has blossomed as a law enforcement tool, in which forensic analysts try to match one person’s DNA profile with another, and comb through the family tree for connections. So in January, Othram Inc. took on the 'Christmas Tree Lady.'
Baby identified, parents arrested in 2019 'Baby Doe' case
Columbia Police announced arrests have been made in connection to an infant, Samone J. Daniels, found dead in 2019. The preliminary autopsy could not determine any identifying information about Samone, but CPD says Samone's parents have been arrested. "We are indebted to the community," said Police Chief Geoff Jones. "Samone had a lot of people pulling for her." Jones also said he was thankful for all the other agencies that supported the investigation, including the forensic genealogists at Othram labs.
How one company's cutting-edge DNA technology could help end cold cases for good
With the rise of genealogical databases and family trees linking suspects to past crime scenes, one company is taking DNA technology a step further and aiming to end cold cases for good. Over the last few years, Othram has also developed a solid reputation for working with skeletal remains — even identifying a victim from 1888. In another case, the company worked with the equivalent of 15 human cells from a sexual assault that occurred 32 years ago.
Human remains found 50 years ago in Florida are finally identified through DNA testing
The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office has identified human remains that were found nearly 50 years ago with the help of genealogy testing. Poole's remains were identified following genealogy testing by Othram, a private forensic laboratory that utilizes genome sequencing to build DNA profiles.
Skeletal remains found in 1974 identified as missing teen possible victim of serial killer
After nearly five decades, Palm Beach County detectives announced Thursday they've identified a teen girl whose skeletal remains were discovered tied to a tree in 1974. Late last year, the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office sent the unidentified remains to Othram, a Texas-based forensics DNA lab that builds DNA profiles using genealogy. The lab identified the deceased as Poole and helped investigators locate her parents and siblings.
1976 homicide victim identified as Army veteran Jimmy Mack Brooks
An ongoing partnership between the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office, North Carolina Unidentified Project, and Othram Inc., has led to the successful identification of a victim from a 46-year-old murder case. The NC Unidentified Project worked with Othram Inc. to employ Forensic-Grade Genome Sequencing to build a genealogical profile from skeletal remains. Ultimately, a DNA link to the 1976 case led investigators to a family member of the victim who identified the deceased subject as Jimmy Mack Brooks.
Forensic genetic genealogy identifies man killed in January Atlanta house fire
The fire along Oak Drive in south Atlanta in January of this year left the man found inside unrecognizable. A new technique called forensic genome sequencing gave the family some closure. It all started with a cotton swab after DNA testing of a family member showed a close relationship to the victim.
Secrets below the surface: The investigation into the body found in a barrel at Lake Mead
It was a Sunday afternoon not far from the launch ramp at Hemenway Harbor. As the lake levels dropped, a decaying barrel emerged onto the shore. Inside were human remains. "When you have remains that have been exposed to the elements, it makes it incredibly challenging to get an ID," Clark County Coroner Melanie Rouse said. However, a lab in Texas that specializes in advanced DNA testing using genealogical data believes they have the resources to help.
Thief spared prison after stealing missing grandmother's pension
Jean Ponders vanished from Roswell in 2012 — the same year a decomposed body was found near the Talladega Speedway in Lincoln, Alabama. Detectives called her Grandma Doe. Even though her death was officially ruled as natural from lung cancer, Lincoln knew it was still a crime. Ultimately, Lincoln City Council and private donors paid for new DNA techniques through a Texas company called Othram.
Fairfax County police use new technology to solve decades-old cold cases
On Sept. 27, 2001, a woman was found dead near a drainage ditch on the 1500 block of Lincoln Circle. Police had ruled it a homicide, and then, the case went cold for 20 years. Othram is working on the Jane Doe case. Mittelman says they were able to fully crowdfund the case within two days. This will allow the lab to start testing, with the hope of bringing detectives one step closer to closing her case — and finally, bring this long chapter to a close for her family.
How Maggie Sniegowski got her name back 30 years after her killing
Margaret Ann Sniegowski Jr. was 17 when she went missing. Known as Maggie, she was the youngest of eight siblings, enjoyed dancing and played trombone in her high school marching band. Her family might have never known what happened to her if it weren't for investigators from the Boone County Sheriff's Office, a Lebanon criminology hobbyist and a DNA-testing company in Texas.
How The Everyday Person Can Help Law Enforcement Crack Unsolved Cases In Their Area
Founded by entrepreneur and philanthropist Justin Woo, the Vegas Justice League (VJL) utilizes a fast-growing approach to reopening unsolved cases by donating funds to help local law enforcement. Donations raised by the VJL are put toward advanced investigation techniques, including the use of genealogical research and other DNA testing performed by leading genetic experts like Othram.
DNA analysis by SEMO professor, students identifies remains found in Lincoln County in 2006
A new partnership has helped the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office identify human remains found in 2006 and led them to reopen an investigation of an unrelated 1984 murder. The sheriff's office said they worked with Jennifer Bengtson of the anthropology program of Southeast Missouri State University to identify the remains through DNA analysis. With the help of her students and genome sequencing company Othram, Bengtson was able to "provide investigators with information pointing them to the path leading to an accurate identification."
‘Who is the victim? Why was she there?’ Fairfax Co. police hope DNA solves 2001 Jane Doe mystery
The young woman’s skeletal remains were discovered in 2001, near a drainage ditch behind an apartment complex in what’s now known as Tysons, Virginia — and Fairfax County police still have far more questions than answers.“We’re baffled by this case, so we’re anxious to get this case moving forward toward finding out who she was, and ultimately, who’s responsible for her murder,” O’Carroll told WTOP in announcing a partnership with Othram Inc, and DNASolves.
What would it mean to forensically investigate the unmarked graves at residential schools?
One Texas-based genomics lab, Othram Inc., was used by the Toronto Police Service in 2020 to accuse Calvin Hoover in the 1984 murder of nine-year-old Christine Jessop in what was arguably Canada’s best-known cold case. As recently as last month, Othram used such familial DNA technology to identify three Jane and John Doe remains in a single week. But these tools are being used very sparingly by police in Canada to identify offenders in cold cases where conventional or “legacy” DNA technologies have failed.
‘She Was Not Trash’: Body Found in Indiana Is Identified After 30 Years
For three decades, she was known only as Jane Doe, ever since her body was found dumped on the embankment of an interstate highway in Indiana in May 1992. Investigators said that they had tried several times to identify Ms. Sniegowski’s body without success. In February 2021 they sent the remains to Othram, a forensic laboratory that specializes in using forensic genetic genealogy to help solve older crimes. By September, they had successfully obtained enough DNA to begin building a profile and search for her living relatives.
After 40 years, Will County 'Jane Doe' has been identified
It's been over four decades since a woman's decomposing remains were found in New Lenox. Thanks to modern DNA technology, she's been identified as Brenda Sue Black — a missing woman from Ohio. The Will County Coroner's Office hired Othram Incorporated to analyze the DNA evidence last year.
Remains found in Colt Killed Creek 37 years ago belong to missing Oklahoma man
The Idaho County Sheriff's Office (ICSO) confirmed the identity of the remains found near an abandoned camp in Colt Killed Creek in 1984. The remains, found 37 years ago, were those of Brian Bennett, 26, "Mr. Bones," from Oklahoma. ICSO personnel started calling Bennett "Mr. Bones" after they felt he deserved some unique personalization. ICSO investigators continued researching and working to find the identity of "Mr. Bones" over the years. In 2022, NamUs decided to fund genetic genealogy testing and samples of Mr. Bones that were sent to a private laboratory in Othram, and they found a potential family match.
Who is the ‘Christmas Tree Lady’? Lab seeks to ID woman in 1996 suicide
For 25 years, the Fairfax County police have tried and failed to identify “the Christmas Tree Lady,” so named because she placed an 8-inch Christmas tree with gold balls and red ribbons on the clear plastic sheet she put on the ground. Her case has become an enduring mystery on the Internet, and she is the only person to die by suicide in Fairfax whom authorities have been unable to identify, before or since. Enter Othram Inc., a forensic laboratory outside Houston.
New DNA forensic lab in Houston area gaining national recognition for solving cold cases
A private laboratory in The Woodlands is becoming known nationwide for identifying victims and possible suspects in cold cases. The company, Othram, uses new DNA technology to identify victims, find missing persons, and reveal possible perpetrators of crimes. Over the last several weeks, they’ve helped solve numerous cold cases across the United States. "The work that Othram lab is doing [gives] hope to law enforcement [and] families," said Jim Walker. "It should make a bad guy shutter in his shoes."
Remains of a woman who went missing 33 years ago are identified. Now authorities will look for her killer
Members of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation contacted the FBI again several years later about using investigative genealogy methods to help solve the case. For this effort, they enlisted Othram, a Texas-based laboratory that works with law enforcement and has been credited with helping solve a lengthy list of other cold cases. "Without the advancements in DNA technology, we wouldn't have been able to be of assistance and have this success so we're grateful for that and for the work Othram did," FBI Special Agent Tim Burke said in Thursday's news conference.
‘Rising Fawn Jane Doe’ Found In Georgia 33 Years Ago ID’d As Missing Michigan Woman
The remains of a Michigan mother who vanished more than three decades ago were found in Georgia at the time and finally identified using DNA technology this month. Othram Inc., a Texas-based DNA lab, was brought in by investigators to assist on the cold case. Using Forensic-Grade Genome Sequencing, a DNA extraction was performed on Chahorski’s skeletal remains, resulting in an “comprehensive genealogical profile.” FBI agents in Atlanta and Baltimore subsequently constructed a family tree and traced Chahroski’s distant relatives through extensive genealogical research using the new forensic profile, which ultimately identified her.
Moss Point John Doe found during Delta Dawn search identified
A man found dead in Jackson County nearly 40 years ago has finally been identified. His remains were located by divers, who were searching the river after a female toddler was found deceased in the area days earlier. His identity remained a mystery for 40 years, until Jackson County investigators, with assistance from Othram, were able to identify a close relative of the young man.
DNA identified in search for Brianna Maitland, 17-year-old Vermont girl who went missing in 2004
Vermont State Police investigators used advanced DNA sequencing techniques to identify a sample found as part of their investigation into the 2004 disappearance of a 17-year-old girl in the town of Montgomery, police said Friday. The state police sent samples to Othram, a Texas-based forensic sequencing laboratory that has set up a fundraising page for the investigation. But investigators say identifying the source of the DNA found near the abandoned car of Brianna Maitland does not mean they have identified a suspect in her disappearance.
For over 60 years, the identity of a girl whose body was found in an Arizona desert has been a mystery. Now, 'Little Miss Nobody' has a name
n 2021, the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office partnered with Othram, a Texas-based laboratory that works exclusively with law enforcement, to see if advanced DNA testing could help solve the mystery of "Little Miss Nobody." That girl now has a name, thanks to advanced DNA technology. Othram received the case in December 2021 and returned the identity to authorities in February 2022, Dr. Kristen Mittelman, Othram's Chief Business Development Officer, told CNN.
‘Forensic Files’ episode features 1974 murder of Fort Worth teen Carla Walker
The story of Carla Walker, how technology solved her 1974 murder and the conviction of her killer will be featured in an episode of “Forensic Files II” on Sunday. The episode airs March 13 at 9 p.m. and features Assistant Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney Kim D’Avignon, according to the episode description. D’Avignon will explain how a team of detectives, forensic scientists and Tarrant County district attorney officials solved the 46-year-old murder case and convicted McCurley.
Cigarette butt helps Seattle-area cops solve 27-year-old cold case murder
An old cigarette butt and other DNA evidence led Seattle-area police to a breakthrough in the case of a woman killed 27 years ago. The Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office reopened the investigation in 2018, pursuing leads based on a rough sketch of the killer and DNA evidence. They sent the forensics to a DNA lab in Texas, Othram Labs, which built a suspect profile.
Metro: DNA testing helps identify Las Vegas homicide victim from 1990s
Metro Police has identified the remains of a homicide victim who died more than 25 years ago using “forensic-grade” DNA sequencing funded by a private party, officials said today. The remains of Richard Guarro, who was reported missing after he failed to return from a trip to Las Vegas in November 1996, were positively identified by analyzing the DNA of his biological sister. They were sent to Othram Labs in October for “forensic-grade genome sequencing” at the request of cold case detectives, police said in a release.
Texas-based lab helps solve 26-year-old Kitsap County cold case
Patricia Lorraine Barnes, 61, was found dead in 1995 when her body was dumped on a rural South Kitsap County road. Deputies at the time documented 130 evidence items but still could not identify a suspect. It was not until April 2018 when deputies reopened the case and four years later, evidence was sent to Othram labs in The Woodlands, Texas. Othram then went forward with genome sequencing and forensic genetic genealogy to make a DNA profile for the suspect.
Senator questions funding for PSP cold case investigations
"We should not be putting our hand out to the public to fund what is the core responsibility of government," stated Senator Baker, reacting to recent cold case investigations in which the public can donate funds to help pay for expensive but necessary testing such as DNA testing. Investigators say the effort will speed up the investigation rather than wait for the state’s budget process to move forward the effort raised $5,000 in several days but senator baker insists.
Texas-based lab helps solve 41-year-old SeaTac missing person case
A Texas-based private laboratory has helped find a man who has been missing from Everett for more than four decades. The lab, Othram Inc., identified Ronald David Chambers, 28, as the person whose remains were found nearly two years after he went missing. Chambers, from Rome, Georgia, was reported missing in 1979, he had not been seen since he was at a SeaTac motel on Dec. 17, 1978.
Justice through Genomes: Othram Inc. hopes to help in Baby Boy John Doe case
A year ago, nobody knew whose body was buried under a headstone marked Beth Doe in the Laureytown Cemetery near Weatherly. Now we know it's the grave of 15-year-old Evelyn Colon and her unborn baby girl, who was killed in 1976. Othram, a Texas-based DNA laboratory, helped identify Evelyn and her alleged killer through DNA profiling. Now the lab is looking to help solve a case in Luzerne County–Baby John Doe, an infant found in a Larksville landfill in 1980.
Forensic genetics co. quadrupling lab space in The Woodlands after fundraising
After raising an $18 million Series B funding round last year, forensic genetics firm Othram Inc. is expanding in The Woodlands. The company is using proceeds from its $18 million Series B funding round, led by Austin-based venture capital firm Gigafund, to build out a roughly 25,000-square-foot office and lab space about a mile away. Othram aims to move into its new lab in March.
Remains of Virginia Teen Identified After Grim Discovery in 1990
More than 30 years after a teenager’s skull was found near a road in Stafford County, Virginia, officials say the late teen has been identified through DNA analysis and genealogical research. Human remains found in 1990 are those of Timothy Alan Mangum, the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office said Friday. A Texas lab called Othram conducted genealogical research and in November 2021 gave the sheriff’s office Mangum’s name and information on his family members.
Authorities announce update in Luzerne County cold case
Investigators are taking another step in their efforts to solve a cold case involving the homicide of a baby boy. Baby Boy John Doe was found in a landfill in Larksville in 1980. Because of advances in technology, in 2016, a DNA sample was collected from the remains. While other attempts to determine the baby's DNA have failed, state police believe a company called Othram Inc. from Texas has the technology to identify it.
DNA testing puts cold cases in the spotlight. But in Houston, hundreds of the dead remain unidentified
Advancements in DNA testing have helped bring an end to cases that have remained opened for decades. “We’re able to do lots of things — including use genealogy to make long range relationship determinations,” Mittelman said. With that information, detectives are now increasingly able to connect once-useless DNA with relatives of crime victims or perpetrators of violence.
Houston company uses cutting-edge DNA technology to solve teenage girl’s murder
Friday night on KPRC 2, an episode of “Dateline NBC” featured a case out of Texas - the murder of Carla Walker. When a Houston company stepped in and helped identify the suspect with its cutting-edge DNA technology, the cold case was cracked. Othram uses a very sophisticated system for testing DNA samples, some that would normally be untestable -- either because they are too small or contaminated.
Dateline episode features 1974 murder of Fort Worth teen Carla Walker
Five months after her killer was sentenced in a Fort Worth courtroom, Carla Walker’s story will be featured on an episode of NBC’s Dateline on Friday night. Her family waited for answers for decades until DNA technology and a dogged police investigation led to the conviction of McCurley. A DNA profile was created and analyzed by Othram, a forensic genealogy lab based in a Houston suburb. The DNA profile was eventually matched to a DNA sample police obtained.
Othram Appoints Brendan Belair as Chief Strategy Officer
Othram, the leading forensic sequencing laboratory for law enforcement, is pleased to announce the appointment of Brendan Belair as Chief Strategy Officer. In addition to serving on the executive team, Mr. Belair will lead Othram’s state and federal government advocacy engagements. Mr. Belair, an attorney and seventeen-year Capitol Hill and political campaign veteran, most recently served as Staff Director and Chief Counsel for the House Judiciary Committee.
Light being shed on nearly 20-year-old Haywood Co. cold case thanks to new methodology
Since 2004, investigators in Haywood County have tried to identify the body of a man they found dead along a rural road. Othram, a private laboratory based in Texas, uses forensic-grade genome sequencing; the company uses small trace amounts of DNA to create a profile of John or Jane Does. Captain Cope of the Haywood County Sheriff’s Office said he believes the assistance from Othram is a step in the right direction for the case.
A Bit of Optimism: My True Crime Episode With David Mittelman
David Mittelman’s company, Othram, is revolutionizing DNA sequencing and, in the process, greatly reducing the number of “unsolvable” cases. I called David to learn more about how the new technology works, what it means for the future of crime-fighting, and maybe get some fascinating stories out of the bargain too.
Othram Appoints Andrew Singer as Chief Commercial Officer
Othram is pleased to announce the appointment of industry veteran Andrew Singer as Chief Commercial Officer. Mr. Singer will lead efforts to expand Othram’s operations throughout North America, delivering on the company’s mission to enable justice for all victims and their families. Mr. Singer joins Othram after a successful 14-year tenure at Bode Technology, most recently serving as the Vice President of Operations Sales and Global Marketing.
'Little Miss Nobody' still unidentified decades after remains found near Prescott
Authorities are still looking for help to identify the remains of a young girl found in the desert in 1960. The girl was estimated to be between the ages of 3 and 6 years old. The case remained stagnant until 2018 when her body was exhumed to obtain a DNA sample. A DNASolves® fund has been set up by Othram, Inc to help raise the remaining funds to have the DNA tested.
‘There is always hope’ says Commander Hornick after identifying man who died in 1981
The large brown accordion folder that Commander Adam Hornick has been filling for nearly a decade is labeled “John Doe” in black capital letters. John Doe now has a name: Franklin D. Feldman. Feldman died in Bethlehem in 1981. The body was never identified — until now. Bethlehem Police partnered with the FBI Melville Office Investigative Genetic Genealogy Unit, which in turn partnered with Othram Inc. to develop a genealogical profile, which led to potential family members.
Remains, found in Lincoln, identified more than 9 years later
After more than nine years after her body was found in Lincoln, a woman’s remains have been identified. The remains, found on May 5, 2012, are those of Jean Turner Ponders of Roswell, Georgia. Lincoln Police said if not for assistance from Othram, Inc., located in Texas, which is a forensic sequencing laboratory for law enforcement and a forensic genetic genealogist named Carla Davis, this would be a cold case.
Remains found in 2003 ID'd as man missing since early '70s
Authorities said Wednesday they have positively identified the remains of a man that were unearthed in 2003, the Isanti County Sheriff's Office announced, thanks to meticulous DNA analysis. Last year, the Sheriff's Office was referred to Othram, a lab in Texas that uses a newer technology to build DNA profiles from skeletal remains. In October, Othram extracted a viable DNA sample and built a comprehensive DNA profile that was sent to Rae-Venter and the Isanti County Sheriff's Office.
Woman's Remains Unearthed 30 Years Ago in Thousand Palms Identified Via DNA
A Bellflower woman whose remains were unearthed near Thousand Palms almost 30 years ago was positively identified based on a DNA match, authorities said Monday. Investigators were able to track down a potential DNA match to the woman -- Cavallaro's son, whose identity was not disclosed. He provided a DNA sample that was processed by a private laboratory, Woodlands, Texas-based Othram Inc.
Human remains found in Saginaw Co. in 2018 identified as missing UM student
Human remains found more than three years ago were identified as a missing 27-year-old University of Michigan student, according to the Saginaw County Sheriff’s Office. Detective Sgt. Simmons was told Othram Inc. in The Woodlands, Texas could help with a genealogy study of the remains to help find a possible identity. Othram told Simmons the remains belonged to an Asian man.
Human remains found in Northampton County in 1995 identified as those of World War II veteran
Human remains that were found in Northampton County nearly three decades ago have been identified as those of a World War II veteran. In September 2019, portions of the skeletal remains were sent to Othram, Inc. in The Woodlands, Texas, for further advanced technological DNA processing, which was funded by the Northampton County Sheriff’s Office. On February 11, 2021, a match was found in a genealogical database: Orlando Harper of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Human remains found in Winnebago County in 2015 identified
Human remains that were found in the town of Vinland in 2015 have been identified, the Winnebago County Sheriff's Office announced Tuesday night. In 2019, the sheriff's department submitted the evidence to a laboratory in Virginia with the hopes of producing a computer-generated image of what Klug looked like. Klug was ultimately identified with the assistance of Othram Inc., a private DNA laboratory in Texas, the Tuesday news release said.
1983 cold case murder committed by same person as 1979 killing, police say
Las Vegas Metro Police have announced solving another cold case murder. The case involves the murder of 22-year-old Diana Hanson in 1983. Police have now identified Johnny Blake Peterson as the person who killed Hanson. Police say the case was solved with the help of Texas-based forensic sequencing laboratory Othram Inc.
Community leaders form ‘Vegas Justice League’ to help police solve cold cases
Community leaders have come together to form the Vegas Justice League, a group that offers support, funding and scientific resources to help the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department solve previously “unsolvable” crimes. The Vegas Justice League partners with Othram Inc, a forensic sequencing laboratory, to offer the latest advancements in DNA testing. The group is involved in several cold cases and helped police solve the 32-year-old murder of Stephanie Isaacson and the 42-year-old murder of Kim Bryant.
Homicide Victim Found on Fire Island in 1989 Identified by DNA Analysis and Genetic Genealogy
On July 24th, 1989, human remains were found on the northwest shore of Fire Island, west of Anchorage. All efforts by AST to identify the victim were unsuccessful. In 2021, the Alaska Bureau of Investigation (ABI) Cold Case Investigation Unit reopened the investigation. Bone samples from the victim that had been retained by the State Medical Examiner’s Office were sent to Othram Inc., a private forensic DNA laboratory in Woodlands TX.
Las Vegas police use DNA testing and genealogical research to solve 42-year-old homicide of teen girl
Advanced DNA testing and genome sequencing helped Las Vegas police crack the case of a 16-year-old girl who was found dead 42 years ago, investigators announced Monday. Police "investigated this case for years without being able to identify a suspect," Spencer said noting multiple LVMPD detectives had worked to gather new leads. "Ten days ago we were notified that the genological profile built by Othram labs, based on sperm recovered from the body of Kim Bryant at autopsy, revealed that Johnny Blake Peterson was the person that kidnapped, sexually assaulted and murdered Kim Bryant," Spencer said at the news conference.
Las Vegas police: 1979 cold case murder of Western High student solved
The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department announced Monday that a cold case homicide from 1979 has been solved thanks to a donation from a local philanthropist. As recently as 2021, the LVMPD lab ran the limited DNA from the case with no luck. However, things changed when they were given the opportunity to take the DNA to Othram's lab. The evidence linked 19-year-old Johnny Blake Peterson as the suspect in Bryant's death, police said.
The Hunt for a Killer
In May of 2019, [Detective] Smith heard about a two-week seminar at the Ontario Police College featuring a session on forensic genealogy. He knew little about it other than the fact that it had been successfully deployed a year earlier by detectives in the case of the Golden State Killer. This would be the first time the techniques were taught in Canada. A few months later, someone from Othram Inc., a Texas-based genetic testing start-up, got in touch. The company had heard about Smith and knew he was interested in the process.
How a Texas forensics lab helped solve the Candy Rogers cold case in Spokane
Othram - a Texas-based laboratory that specializes in Forensic-grade Genome Sequencing - played a key role in solving a 62-year-old cold case in Spokane. The case had went gone than six decades without being solved. But then, Othram stepped in and performed DNA testing. The process the lab specializes in allows the to test small - and oftentimes, damaged - DNA samples from crime scenes.
Skeletal remains found in Moss Point identified as man missing since 2015
Jackson County Investigators have identified the skeletal remains found in a wooded area near East Street in Moss Point close to the Escatawpa River. Once the remains were found, they were collected by the Mississippi State Crime Lab, who sent samples to Othram in The Woodlands, Texas for analysis. Othram then conducted genealogical research and identified a possible relative in Michigan. The remains were confirmed to be 54-year-old Aaron McGraw, a man reported missing in May 2015.
Discovery Life Sciences Selects Othram as Forensic Casework Commercialization Partner
Othram, the leading forensic sequencing laboratory for law enforcement, and Discovery Life Sciences™ (Discovery), the biospecimen and biomarker specialists, today announced their partnership to pair Discovery’s innovative forensic genomic research capabilities with Othram’s human identification tools and services for law enforcement.
Texas Lab Is Helping Identify Mississippi Crime Victims
In the summer of 2020, a utility maintenance worker discovered the fully dressed skeletal remains of a man in a wooded area behind Holmes Avenue. Investigators tried conventional approaches to determine the identity of the skeletal remains, but were unsuccessful. Othram used the recovered bones to build a DNA profile to identify the remains and potential family members. Since 2019, Othram has identified four people from remains shared by the Mississippi crime lab.
Testing under way in EastPark case
EastPark John Doe was found July 18, 2020, in a shallow grave on a piece of hunting property just off the Industrial Parkway in Boyd County. Since discovering the body, troopers and Boyd County Coroner Mark Hammond have been at a dead end attempting to identify the man; authorities are closer to identifying the EastPark John Doe, after the Medical Examiner’s Office has confirmed samples from the body have been sent to Othram, a Texas-based lab that conducts genetic tests and genealogical research into the deceased.
How Walker County Jane Doe Was Identified at Last
There was little viable evidence for forensic genealogical testing. Much of the victim’s skeletal remains had decayed over the decades and had been repeatedly tested by other labs, which had stripped away almost all usable genetic material. It wasn’t the first time Othram’s scientists had run into such a challenge. They rarely have the luxury of working with high-quality genetic samples. They’re typically left to scrutinize specimens that are far older, far smaller, and far less intact than those yielded by at-home DNA testing kits. But the lab’s proprietary technology was designed to recover and enhance miniscule quantities of degraded forensic evidence.
DNA on beer cans leads to suspect in 1996 death of Florida store clerk stabbed 73 times
Saliva on his discarded beer cans has led to the arrest of a Florida man accused of stabbing a store clerk more than six dozen times in the winter of 1996. Sheriff’s Office officials said the case is the first for the agency solved using genetic genealogy. Othram Inc., a Texas-based private laboratory that specializes in the method, assisted in the process.
Forensic lab raising funds to DNA test East Idaho teen's unidentified remains
A partial human skull found in East Idaho in 1986 that investigators believe belonged to a teenage girl has yet to be identified. Now, more than three decades later, a forensic lab is raising funds to conduct testing that could help identify it. The Oneida County Sheriff’s Office and Samantha Blatt of the Idaho State University Anthropology Department reached out this year to Othram, a private forensic lab, with the hope that the lab might be able to help identify the remains using advanced DNA testing.
NYPD makes arrest in 1976 cold-case killing of WWI veteran in Queens
George Clarence Seitz went missing Dec. 10, 1976, and was last seen leaving his home in Jamaica on his way to get a haircut, prosecutors said. But his whereabouts were a mystery until March 12, 2019, not long after a woman told police she remembered a body buried in plastic bags in the backyard of a home. Police went digging and found remains under concrete — enough for a DNA profile. In February, the DA’s office and the NYPD enlisted a private company, Othram, to produce a comprehensive genealogical profile, which they handed over to the FBI, prosecutors said — and that led to a match.
Police chief, forensics lab details breakthrough discovery in 30-year Outer Banks cold case
A News 3 investigation is detailing arrests in the death of a baby 30 years in the making. On April 4, 1991, a town sanitation worker found the baby boy's remains in a trash can rack on East Tides Drive. After decades of chasing leads, investigators chose to send a rib bone from the remains to Othram, a private genetic testing lab based in Texas. Othram was able to pull DNA from the rib bone to conduct a genealogical profile leading to a North Carolina family.
Revolutionary DNA Technology Could Stop Serial Killers For Good
The CEO of a laboratory in Texas that is performing groundbreaking work in DNA science says that the technology they are using could one day completely wipe out serial crime. With the right funding and a significant upscaling of operations, Othram could make serial killing a thing of the past, as well as helping thousands of families find out what happened to their loved ones and solve decades-old cold cases.
Woodlands forensic lab's work on cold case murder inspires 'Law & Order' episode
A Woodlands forensic lab’s work in helping identify the man responsible for a 1974 cold case murder has inspired a milestone episode of “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” as detectives investigate whether the perpetrator is a North Texas serial killer. On social media, the “Law & Order: SVU” showrunner and the series’ main star, Mariska Hargitay, both acknowledged Othram’s work as the NBC series’ 500th episode aired Thursday night.
Her family thought she ran away. 45 years later, they now know she was killed in Baltimore County
When officers showed up at Edward Fetterolf’s job and said they wanted to talk about a murder investigation, he knew exactly what they were talking about. They showed him a photo. “As soon as I saw it, I immediately knew it was her,” he said. Detectives told Fetterolf that after 45 years they finally figured out who the “Woodlawn Jane Doe” was — his sister.
ECSO identifies human remains found in Gardendale in 2019
The Ector County Sheriff's Office and the Texas Rangers have identified human remains found in a pasture back in 2019. After working with the Texas Rangers Unsolved Crimes Investigation Program and Othram Inc. to conduct DNA analysis, ECSO finally were able to confirm that the remains were those of Timothy Daniel Gomez.
Charleston County coroner identifies person whose foot washed up near Fort Sumter last October
The Charleston County Coroner’s Office has identified a deceased individual almost a year after their foot was discovered in Charleston Harbor. On June 21st, the coroner’s office sent a sample to a Texas-based lab, Othram Inc. where they were able to obtain a genealogical profile and compare it to DNA databases where individuals had uploaded their DNA.
Missing Jackson man’s remains identified by private DNA company
In August 2020, a utility maintenance worker found the fully-clothed skeletal remains of an unknown man in an area behind Holmes Avenue in Jackson. Crime lab professionals sent the remains to Othram so they could generate a comprehensive genealogical profile for the unknown man, in hopes that it would help identify him or a close family member.
“Palisades Pete” bones identified
In September of 2002, a local resident found what appeared to be a human skull at the Palisades Reservoir between Big Elk and Blowout Canyon and contacted the Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office. Since 2002, Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office investigators have applied new technology and advances in DNA identification to this case attempting to identify who the bones belonged to. Until recently those efforts did not result in answers as to the identity of this man.
Escatawpa Jane Doe is ID’d after 40 years. A serial killer took her life, officials say.
After 40 years, skeletal remains known only as "Escatawpa Jane Doe" have been identified through DNA. The woman’s name was Clara Birdlong, and Jackson County Sheriff’s investigators believe she was murdered by serial killer Samuel Little, a news release from the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office says. Little confessed to more than 90 murders throughout the southeast.
Las Vegas philanthropist honored by Clark County for helping solve cold case
Clark County honored a local philanthropist who helped solve a cold case from 1989 on Tuesday. The breakthrough was made possible thanks to Justin Woo, the founder of Vegas Helps. He donated $5,000 to help investigators send the evidence to [Othram]. Clark County brought Woo and Othram CEO Dave Mittelman together for the dedication ceremony.
Money is a barrier in solving Fort Worth cold cases. A new group seeks to change that.
When they used forensic genealogy testing to solve Carla [Walker]’s case, Bennett and cold case Detective Leah Wagner knew they needed a way to fund this form of testing in more cases. Not every case is able to draw the kind of attention Carla’s received. And like every department at FWPD, the Fort Worth cold case unit has a budget. Many people have already asked how they can contribute to cold case investigations, Bennett and Walker said. Most of those wishing to donate are not directly connected to an unsolved case — they just understand the impact those cases can have on a community.
Skull found in 1982 near Stone Mountain finally identified
Unidentified remains found in 1982 in the woods near Stone Mountain have finally been identified, according to Gwinnett Police. In March 2021, Det. Dorminy with Gwinnett Homicide Unit shipped the skull to Othram Labs to have them generate a DNA profile. "It was always a question in the back of my mind," said Adams. "We were always told that our mother left us at Piedmont Park. She just went with some guy. No one knew what happened."
'Woodlawn Jane Doe,' A Teen Who Was Raped And Strangled 45 Years Ago, Gets Her Name Back
For more than four decades investigators tried to identify her remains and find her killer. Sketches of her led to no productive leads. Her case was featured on America's Most Wanted in 2010. Then in 2015, with the assistance of The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, pollen testing led Baltimore County detectives to believe that she may have been from the Boston area. But the big break came with genetic genealogy this year.
Othram Closes $18M Series B Funding Round to Help Law Enforcement Crack Previously Unsolvable Cases
Othram is pleased to announce that it has raised an $18 million Series B funding round to further develop the breakthrough technology that is helping investigators crack these unsolved cases. The round was led by Gigafund, a venture fund known for its large investments in companies like SpaceX. With the new funding round, Othram will accelerate the development of its genetic testing platform and expand operations throughout North America.
Remains Found 40 Years Ago In Canada ID'd As NJ Murder Victim, Police Say
The remains of Theodore Frederick Kampf, 46 -- formerly of Camden County -- were found in a wooded area near the North Fork Dam and Dempster Highway in Yukon Territory in 1983, Royal Canadian Mounted Police announced. In the fall of 2020, Texas based Othram Inc. was contracted to conduct advanced forensic analysis. This led Yukon Investigators to begin working with the Oaklyn Police Department and New Jersey State Police on on a missing person case from their jurisdiction.
Human remains found in 2014 in Granite County identified
A hiker came across the remains in the summer of 2014 in the Welcome Creek Wilderness. Sheriff Dunkerson says the remains could not be identified despite a thorough investigation. Earlier this year, with the help of Granite County Sheriff’s Office funding as well as DNASolves® Crowdfunding and a contribution from Audiochuck, the Granite County Sheriff’s Office and the Missoula County Sheriff’s Office Cold Case Squad partnered with Othram Inc., a Texas DNA laboratory.
Forensic Genealogy Used In Glen McCurley Case Could Help Close Thousands Of Unsolved Murders
McCurley’s guilty plea Tuesday, August 24, to kidnapping and killing Walker is believed to be a groundbreaking outcome, according to detectives, prosecutors and geneticists who worked on the case. They believe it is the first time forensic genealogy has been presented as evidence in a criminal trial, resulting in a conviction. The outcome could encourage the funding and use of the testing in other criminal cases, and possibly close some of the more than 250,000 unsolved murders across the country.
Texas man, 78, changes his plea mid-trial to confess to the murder of 17-year-old Carla Walker who was snatched from her boyfriend's car after Valentine's dance before being found stuffed in a storm drain
A 78-year-old Texas man on trial for the abduction, rape, and murder of a teenage girl in 1974 abruptly changed his plea during court proceedings Tuesday, to confess. ‘I believe this could be the first time the tech was used in court,’ David Mittelman, founder of Othram, a modern parallel sequencing lab that helped lead police to the killer, told DailyMail.com. ‘It’s a huge milestone.’
Sask. coroner confirms identity of 'John Doe' hit by train in Regina in 1995
After 26 years, the Saskatchewan Coroners Service announced on Thursday that it had identified Michael Kirov, originally from Winnipeg, as the victim in a John Doe case who had been killed by a train in Regina. ... Kirov's identity was verified in early August this year with assistance from Othram Inc., a Texas company that specializes in the recovery and analysis of human DNA.
How DNA and genealogy put a name to Regina's 'John Doe'
The quest to find the identity of Michael Kirov, the man previously known only as “John Doe” who died on a Regina railway 26 years ago, relied on advanced DNA technology and painstaking genealogical research. David Mittelman, CEO of the Texas-based Othram Inc., told reporters on Thursday how his lab helped crack the case.
Body Found Near Channahon: Can You Help Solve Cold Case?
The Will County Coroner's Office announced Monday that it is trying to pursue advanced DNA testing in hopes of identifying the body of a man found near Channahon during the 1970s. Coroner Laurie Summers said her staff has partnered with Othram as part of an effort to bring Will County's 1974 mystery to an end. According to the website DNASolves.com, hunters came across the man's skeleton in a creek head for a partially wooded area in November 1974.
'Jetty Doe' case: DNA lab sheds new light, helps identify man found in Snohomish River in 1980
The body of a man found in the Snohomish River in 1980 was finally identified this month thanks to specialized DNA Laboratory Othram and the Snohomish County Medical Examiner's Office. The man that detectives referred to as "Jetty Doe" for decades has been named and the family finally has some answers.
Othram, DoeNetwork Collaborate on Missing and Unidentified Cold Cases
Othram, the leading forensic sequencing laboratory for law enforcement, has announced a joint initiative with the DoeNetwork, a global volunteer organization that advocates for cold cases involving missing and unidentified persons. The collaboration aims to raise awareness, funding, and other resources to help solve cold cases. DNASolves® and DoeNetwork will work together to educate the public on the power of advanced DNA testing and forensic genetic genealogy, and cross-promote cases being solved with this powerful new approach. This will further the common mission at DNASolves® and DoeNetwork of helping reconnect the missing and unidentified to family.
Othram and DoeNetwork Collaborate to Reunite the Missing and Unidentified Back to Family
Othram, the leading forensic sequencing laboratory for law enforcement, has announced a joint initiative with the DoeNetwork, a global volunteer organization that advocates for cold cases involving missing and unidentified persons. The collaboration aims to raise awareness, funding, and other resources to help solve cold cases.
Who's the Mad Trapper of Rat River? These forensic experts are 'one step closer' to finding out
July marks the 90th anniversary of the arrival of the ‘Mad Trapper of Rat River’ to Canada, who's widely known as a mysterious trapper that shot three RCMP officers during the largest manhunt in Canadian history. Despite photos being sent out and thousands of tips from the public, the Mad Trapper’s identity has never been established. To help aid in the investigation, Mittelman is opening it up to the public, asking individuals to submit their DNA to help track down the Mad Trapper’s ancestors.
Las Vegas murder case cracked with smallest ever amount of DNA
The 1989 murder of a 14-year-old girl in Las Vegas has been solved by using what experts say is the smallest-ever amount of human DNA to crack a case. Stephanie Isaacson's murder case had gone cold until new technology made it possible to test what little remained of the suspect's DNA: the equivalent of just 15 human cells. This year, police were able to pick up the case again after a donation from a local resident. They turned over the DNA samples left to Othram, a Texas-based genome-sequencing lab that specialises in cold cases.
32-year Las Vegas cold case cracked with breakthrough DNA technology
At Wednesday's press conference, authorities explained Stephanie's case was chosen specifically because of the minimal amount of DNA available. "The equivalent of 15 cells was submitted for this testing," said Kimberly Murga, director of laboratory services with LVMPD. For reference, Mittelman explained getting a DNA swab for companies like 23andMe gather around 750 to 1,000 nanograms of DNA. This case was 0.12.
Suspect in 1989 slaying ID’d using world’s smallest sample of DNA evidence
Using a mere 15 cells of DNA evidence, Las Vegas police have identified a suspect in the 1989 slaying of a 14-year-old girl, officials announced Wednesday. Kim Murga, head of the Metropolitan Police Department’s forensics lab, said the sample used to identify Darren Roy Marchand as the man suspected of sexually assaulting and strangling Las Vegas teen Stephanie Isaacson more than 30 years ago now holds the world record for the smallest amount of DNA ever used to help solve a crime.
Finding 'Grace': Murder, DNA and ancestry
A brother and sister were looking for their long-lost sibling. A police department was trying to identify a murder victim. It took 30 years - but a revolution in forensics using DNA and ancestry websites finally connected the dots. The police had called her Grace, because it had been said that "only by the grace of God" would anyone find out who she was. But thanks to a revolution in DNA tracing - one that is changing how cold cases are being solved throughout America - a 30-year-old mystery might finally be solved.
‘Septic tank Sam’ identified 44 years later thanks to genetic genealogy (video)
It’s a case that has haunted Toefield, Alta. for more than 40 years, but now there are finally some answers. As Sarah Komadina reports, a man known as ‘Septic Tank Sam’, has now been identified as Gordon (Gordie) Edwin Sanderson.
Body of man found in septic tank in 1977 identified using genetic genealogy: RCMP
The 44-year mystery around the identity of a man whose scorched body was found in a septic tank has been solved. The infamous cold case made headlines throughout the decades as investigators tried to gather leads. RCMP sent biological samples last year to Othram Labs in Texas to develop a DNA profile that could be searched against public DNA databanks in Canada and the U.S. that track ancestry. As a result, they were able to develop a family tree with several possible relatives — one of whom turned out to be Sanderson’s sister, Joyce Sanderson, who had lost track of her brother.
Revolutionizing Forensics with NGS
Forty minutes north of Houston in The Woodlands, Texas, Dr. David Mittelman has built a very special lab. It’s the first and only fully in-house private laboratory in the United States or Canada to use the power of genomic sequencing in a forensic setting. The mission is “Justice Through Genomics,” and the idea is to democratize justice in the same way that genetic health testing has been made accessible over the last several years. “On any street corner you can get your DNA tested and find out if you have a risk for a certain disease,” says Mittelman. “But what street corner can you go to solve a crime?”
Body found 5 years ago in Yukon's Lake Laberge identified
RCMP and Yukon's coroner have identified the man whose body was found in Lake Laberge, solving a mystery that had stumped them for years. Police said at the time that they had no idea who the deceased man was, where he came from, or how he ended up in the water. Searches of the area, fingerprint analysis and missing person reports offered no clues. DNA samples ultimately helped investigators track down Hines's family. Police say they worked with Othram, Inc., a private, Texas-based lab that specializes in DNA analysis.
Pecos Jane Has a Name
The young woman who mysteriously drowned in the Ropers Motel pool in 1966 might have remained anonymous forever, if not for cutting-edge genetics, old-fashioned genealogy—and the kindness of a small West Texas town. [..] The investigation appeared to have hit a dead end. Then, out of the blue, Tarango received a call from Othram. Vogen offered the lab’s services, telling her that the case could probably only be solved through forensic genetic genealogy, a relatively new investigative method that combines advanced DNA analysis with traditional genealogical research.
Mississippi Jane Doe Found in 1991 Identified 30 Years Later
A woman whose body was found 30 years ago in Mississippi has finally been identified thanks to DNA and the persistence of cold case investigators. In March, Othram identified a possible brother of the victim. Cold case investigators talked with him and he confirmed that he had a sister named Kimberly, also known as "Star," who went missing in 1990. DNA swabs were collected from him and sent to Othram for comparison. Tests confirmed that the DNA was a match and Kimberly Ann Funk was officially identified as the Jane Doe.
'Tip Of The Iceberg': The Aspect of DNA Analysis That Isn’t Often Talked About
David Mittelman, CEO of Othram Inc, spoke on Friday to a crowd at the CrimeCon 21 in Austin about some of the challenges of DNA evidence. "I think it’s helpful to think of forensic casework as an iceberg," he explained, classifying the "tip of the iceberg" as the crimes where there are plenty of available DNA and evidence. He pointed to cases like the Golden State Killer, in which DNA and genetics led to the serial killer’s capture decades later. Mittelman said that cases like that, where there were dozens of crime scenes and chances to collect evidence, are rare.
Texas AG's Office launching statewide Cold Case Unit
The Office of the Attorney General of Texas is launching a Cold Case Unit. "In Texas [there] are around 19,000 cold cases and you think about the faces behind those cold cases you can’t afford not to do something," said Mindy Montford, who serves as senior counsel. David Mittelman is CEO of Othram Labs, a private laboratory that uses cutting-edge technology to solve cold cases. He told FOX 7 Austin: "What’s missing and what law enforcement needs is technology and centralized resources to bridge the cold case gap. The reason we need a statewide resource is it would allow us to leverage common tools and pool our knowledge on how well things do and don't work for different kinds of cases. And then we can combine efforts to support cases and share information."
Remains Found 36 Years Ago in Montana Are Identified
The authorities in Montana said this week that they had used a DNA sample to identify human remains that were found more than three decades ago as those of a woman from Washington State whose family had last seen her in 1983. From a molar, Othram, a private lab that works with law enforcement, was able to create a genetic profile that was compatible with genealogy databases, said David Mittelman, Othram’s chief executive.
Her Body Was Found in a Storage Unit Years Ago. Cops Finally Know Who She Is.
For five years, the identity of a woman whose remains were found stuffed in a plastic container inside a storage unit in North Carolina has remained a mystery. "It was being cleaned out after the death of the person who was renting the unit," Sgt. Quincy Tate said. While authorities have not yet identified the cause of Poitra’s death, Tate said it is being treated as a homicide and remains a priority for the department.
Missing Pieces: Arrest finally made in Texas teacher's 1995 murder
An arrest that was made in a Texas teacher's murder brought a surprising twist. "We always suspected it was someone who was known to the family, but we would have never thought it’s going to be a person that’s in your wedding," said Brandon Bess, a Texas Ranger with DPS's Unsolved Crimes Investigation Program. Bess said trash collected from Foreman’s home matched DNA from the crime scene. The DNA was discovered through advanced testing by Houston-area lab, Othram.
After 36 Years, Her Remains Were Identified. Was She The Victim Of A Serial Killer?
After more than three decades, the remains of a woman found in the Montana Wilderness have been identified. Earlier this year, Missoula County’s cold case unit partnered with private genetic lab Othram Inc, with financial assistance from the Montana Department of Justice’s Sexual Assault Kit Initiative program, to undergo a forensic genetic genealogy investigation. Now investigators want to know if she was murdered by a suspected serial killer.
Genealogy, DNA testing lead Beaumont police to Ohio in effort to solve woman's brutal 1995 murder
On Jan. 13, 1995, a young Beaumont second-grade teacher arrived home from school after a long week, walked her dog, and then poured a glass of wine and settled in for the evening. She called her boyfriend. The phone call was likely the last one she ever made. [..] At first, investigators thought they might solve the case quickly. But every line of inquiry came up blank. The crime sparked a lengthy investigation by the Beaumont Police Department, the Texas Department of Public Safety and the DA’s Office. They enlisted the help of Othram Inc., a private forensic lab based in The Woodlands that does specialized DNA testing for law enforcement.
5 years later, ID of body found in Yukon's Lake Laberge still a mystery
Five years after a body was found in Yukon's Lake Laberge, police say they still have no idea who the man was, where he came from, or how he ended up in the water. The deceased man was wearing three layers of clothes, a pair of insulated, steel-toed work boots, and had a sheathed knife on his belt. Investigators have found some clues to the man's identity, with help from Othram, Inc., a private, Texas-based lab that specializes in DNA analysis.
Ohio man is charged with cold case murder of teacher who had been bridesmaid at his wedding after detectives find DNA match 26 years later on genealogy database
An Ohio man has been charged with the sexual assault and murder of one of his then-wife's friends 26 years ago. Cold case detectives managed to link Foreman to the case in April last year when they submitted DNA evidence found on Edwards' body to a lab. Texas Rangers worked with the Houston-based DNA lab Othram, which has the ability to extract, digitize and apply their own process known as "Forensic-Grade Genome Sequencing" to identify the source of DNA through distant relatives.
Othram's David Mittelman: DNA Solves Cases (Part 2, audio)
Welcome to "Mind Over Murder." In this episode, co-hosts Kristin Dilley and Bill Thomas talk with David Mittelman, CEO of Othram, a Texas-based DNA lab that is solving missing person and murder cases across North America using their unique Forensic-Grade Genomic Sequencing method. This is part 2 of 2 episodes with David Mittelman.
Forensic Genealogy: Are You Getting the Most from Your DNA Evidence?
In this article, I focus on an important piece of data that you should be getting from DNA evidence – ancestry. Properly inferring the historical origins of unknown persons provides valuable clues to identity. This is true for unidentified remains but also for unknown suspects in crimes. How do you seek justice for unidentified persons without first knowing who they are?
Othram's David Mittelman: DNA Solves Cases (Part 1, audio)
Welcome to "Mind Over Murder." In this episode, co-hosts Kristin Dilley and Bill Thomas talk with David Mittelman, CEO of Othram, a Texas-based DNA lab that is solving missing person and murder cases across North America using their unique Forensic-Grade Genomic Sequencing method. This is part 1 of 2 episodes with David Mittelman.
Police Release New Details about DNA Technology Used to Solve 1976 Homicide Case, Suspect Behind Bars in Carbon County
On Wednesday, state police revealed new details in a news conference about how this cold case was cracked. [..] "We mostly received tips, followed tips on different missing persons and attempted to identify them as Ms. Colon. All of them were discounted after investigation," said Lt. Devon Brutosky. For decades, investigators tried to find answers, entering her information into numerous missing person databases and even exhuming her body in 2007 to extract DNA. Late last year, those DNA samples were ultimately sent to Othram.
Wyoming cold case re-opens; LCSO hopes new DNA tech can identify newborn found deceased in 1988 near Happy Jack Road
The Laramie County Sheriff’s Office said on Monday, April 12 that they are requesting assistance from the community with a cold case investigation to help identify a newborn child found deceased in a culvert in February 1988. Ruling the death a homicide, law enforcement investigators thoroughly pursued all available leads hoping to identify the infant or his family. Detectives canvassed regional hospitals, schools and the Air Force Base, but 30 years later, the case remains unsolved.
Bonneville County Sheriff's Office/Othram Inc. partnering to identify human remains
In September of 2002, a man and his dog walking near Palisades Reservoir came upon what appeared to be part of a human skull. The remains were substantially weathered, suggesting they may have been in the reservoir for 15 to 20 years prior to their discovery. Although this accidental drowning has been a focus of the investigation, Deputies haven’t ruled out the remains belonging to victims of a separate crime or incident.
Grace Doe ID'ed After 30 Years
A couple walking on a rural road in Southwest Missouri discovered the decomposed remains of a young woman. Grace Doe was found restrained with six different types of bindings: nylon and lead ropes, coaxial and telephone cables, paracord, and clothesline. The Sheriff’s Office followed up on all leads and used dental records and DNA testing to exclude possible matches from all over the country. In Jan 2021 the Sheriff’s Office received information from Othram Inc. that there were candidate relatives identified for Grace Doe.
McDonald County Sheriff's Office identify 1990s cold case victim as missing Kansas woman
In 2020, the McDonald County Sheriffs Office partnered with Othram Forensic lab to identify remains found by a couple who discovered a body that had been hogtied and dumped behind a rural farmhouse in December of 1990. The remains were identified as an unknown woman in her mid to late '20s. Even with 220 inquiries, the missing woman's case went cold after several leads did not pan out during the original investigation.
DNA Will Be Tested in Grisly Cleveland Cold Case From 1969
The victim was a young, Black man who had been shot nine times. Detectives wondered if his murder was connected to the Black Panther Party. The Porchlight Project, a local nonprofit dedicated to solving Ohio cold cases, has agreed to completely fund the DNA tests and genetic genealogy that could lead to finally identifying this victim. Last week, the Medical Examiner’s office shipped a piece of the victim’s bone to Othram, Inc., a one-stop-shop for DNA testing and genetic genealogy in Texas.
Saginaw Police and Othram team up in hopes of identifying teen killed in 1988
In October 1988, Saginaw Police responded to the call of an unidentified body in the northeastern part of the city. When they arrived on scene, they found the body of a young African-American man who had died only hours prior from a gunshot wound. A thorough investigation by the SPD revealed that the young man was likely from the Detroit area. Despite the hard work and efforts, investigators were unable to unearth his identity, and to date, no one has come forward with information.
Montgomery County Forensic Services, local forensic lab identify deceased man from 2016 case
For over four years, the body of a man found in a reservoir in The Woodlands remained unidentified. Forensics services attempted to identify the man using fingerprints, dental records and DNA. The department ran press releases with pictures of his belongings and uploaded the information to a national database, the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, known as NamUs. Nothing generated leads. In late 2020, Montgomery County Forensic Services contacted Othram.
Elderly man identified 4 years after body was found in Woodlands reservoir
A kayaker on the late afternoon of Oct. 7, 2016 found the body of the man now identified as James Edward St. Peters in the Bear Bench Reservoir. Late last year, The Woodlands-based Othram, Inc. partnered up with the Montgomery County Forensic Services to identify St. Peters. Othram’s research team generated a new lead after finding a genetic match to the man reaching beyond second cousin status and scouring Mennonite and French Canadian family records.
Was Harrodsburg’s Dancing Lady Murdered?
The legend goes: A beautiful young woman in her early 20s checked into the Graham Springs Hotel, in the 1840s. That night, as music played in the ballroom, she came downstairs and began dancing with various partners. She danced passionately and at the end of the evening, her final partner realized that, to his horror, she had literally died in his arms. [Todd Matthews] is optimistic that through advanced technology this almost 180 year old mystery could be solved.
Police Still Seeking Clues After Teen Found Dead In Texas Motel Pool In 1966 Identified With DNA
More than 50 years later, a teenager who was mysterious found dead inside a Texas motel pool has been identified, and her family in Kansas will finally be able to lay her to rest alongside her parents’ graves. In 2018, law enforcement officials and DNA experts began working on finding her name — which was revealed at a press conference as Jolaine Hemmy. The Pecos Police Department and DNASolves® raised money for the laboratory work through crowdfunding, at which point the teen’s remains were extracted at Othram and then they built a genealogical profile.
The Unsettling Truth About the ‘Mostly Harmless’ Hiker
The body of a hiker had been found in a tent in Florida in the summer of 2018, but scores of amateur detectives, and a few professional ones too, couldn’t figure out who he was. Everyone knew that he had started walking south on the Appalachian Trail. He met hundreds of people on the trail, and seemed to charm them all. They all knew his trail name, but no one could figure out his real one. The puzzle was formally solved today, when Othram confirmed that the DNA of the hiker matched that of Rodriguez’s mother.
Advanced DNA testing reveals new info about boy whose remains were found in 2014
Contractors working along a mid-central Mississippi creek in Sharkey County in January 2014 found a skull in a drainage canal. Investigators believe the boy, who was between 5 and 7 years old, may have been dead for several years. The Mississippi state Medical Examiner’s Office teamed with DNA testing company Othram and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children to use advanced DNA testing to reveal more about the boy’s identity.
Othram Launches KinSNP® Priority Service for Rapid Familial Relationship Testing
Othram, the leading forensic sequencing laboratory for law enforcement, has announced a new priority service, KinSNP®, which enables rapid confirmation or exclusion of candidate relationships between an unknown subject and potential relatives in support of forensic genetic genealogy applications. The entire process is performed offline and there is no interaction with genealogical databases, maximizing privacy and security.
After Saving For Big Birthday Trip, Woman Instead Uses Money To Fund DNA Research Giving Young Murder Victim Her Name Back
Catherine Serbousek, an audiobook editor and mother of two young children, told Oxygen.com that a particular unsolved crime struck a chord with her while she was growing up in Arkansas. [Serbousek] was experiencing some existential dread around her birthday and didn’t feel like taking the big birthday trip she'd saved for. Instead, she decided to use the money to contribute to assisting unsolved crimes. For her, it was no question: Dawn had to be the first case she wanted to see movement in.
The Power of Kindness and Technology “Delta Dawn” has her name back
Serbousek had been reading how genetic testing, and the growing popularity of genealogy testing databases were helping law enforcement solve cold cases – if someone would pay for it. That’s when it hit her: That’s how she’d use her birthday money. [..] The genetic information led to a woman in Joplin, Missouri, Theresa Spencer. [..] DNA testing by Othram confirmed that they had found Spencer’s niece, Alisha.
Cold Case in Lincoln: Forensic lab gives new hope for identifying woman
Less than five miles from Talladega Superspeedway is where this mystery begins. [...] "Pretty much every lead you could think of that we ran down was a no-go, we had nothing at the end of it so it was just sitting here, a cold case." Then, this summer, someone reached out to a lab in Texas after reading about the mysterious case on NamUS. Othram is a private DNA laboratory built specifically to solve cases like this one.
How you can help Rutherford County solve a cold case from 1978 using genetic genealogy
For the last 42 years, the [Rutherford County Sheriff Office] has combed through leads and hit dead ends as detectives have worked to uncover the identity of Doe, a man found shot and burned at the Poole Knob Campground near La Vergne. [...] That's why the department is connecting with Othram, a Texas-based private laboratory that will attempt to build a DNA profile for Doe and use genealogy to hopefully find a relative.
A Nameless Hiker and the Case the Internet Can’t Crack
It’s usually easy to put a name to a corpse. There’s an ID or a credit card. There’s been a missing persons report in the area. There’s a DNA match. But the investigators in Collier County couldn’t find a thing. [...] Othram called up the Collier County Sheriff’s Office and offered to help. [...] Soon a small piece of bone from the hiker was on its way west from Collier County to the Othram labs.
Genetic sequencing helps identify Arkansas cold-case suspect
What does it take to solve a cold case nearly 50 years old? When key DNA evidence is scare and degraded, typical forensic tests won’t reveal much. That’s where Othram comes in. "Most of the cases that come to us, they’ve been through other processes," David Mittelman explained. "They’ve attempted other methods and nothing has worked." Mittelman is the CEO of Othram, a DNA sequencing laboratory that assists with cold cases all but abandoned.
‘It’s A Big Deal’: DNA Solves 46-Year-Old Murder Of 5-Year-Old Girl
Advances in DNA led to the case’s closure. Othram used DNA extract from the crime scene to produce a genealogical profile which in turn led to Davis’ identification. "It is critical to solve these sexual assault cases to secure justice for the victims, but also to identify other possible victims," David Mittelman, CEO of Othram, told Oxygen.com. "If CODIS does not yield an answer then we have to use other forensic DNA tools to help solve a case."
'John Doe' found dead over 1 year ago in rural Harvard identified as Ingleside man
A body that was found in a rural area of Harvard a year and a half ago has been identified through genealogy testing as a 50-year-old Ingleside man. [...] The coroner’s office collaborated with Othram Inc. in late June to conduct genealogy testing and analysis. Additional leads were developed in early October as a result of the genealogy testing and possible relatives of the man were identified.
McDonald County Sheriff’s Office working to identify ‘Grace Doe’ in 1990 cold case
The McDonald County Sheriff’s Office announced Friday it is working with Othram to use advanced DNA testing and forensic genealogy in an attempt to identify the victim or find the closest living relatives to the decedent. The woman was nicknamed “Grace Doe” by Detective Lori Howard in the 2000′s. Around that time, an autopsy revealed that she had been raped and strangled approximately two months prior to her discovery.
How genetic genealogy played a crucial role in the 1984 Christine Jessop cold case
[...] the investigation into nine-year-old Christine Jessop’s death had become as sprawling as a family tree: hundreds of boxes containing countless names, more than 300 potential suspects examined and ruled out, DNA submissions from dozens of people. The head of Toronto’s Cold Case Squad, Stacy Gallant, realized last year that the only hope of finding a signal in all that noise was the emerging forensic field known as genetic genealogy, a technique that has been used to crack a number of high-profile cold cases in the United States but remains a rarely used investigative tool in Canada – for now.
How DNA and a genealogy website helped lead to the killer of Christine Jessop
Toronto police investigators submitted the DNA sample to the U.S.-based lab Othram Inc., which is accredited with law enforcement agencies. David Mittelman, CEO of Othram, said in an interview that the lab began working with the Toronto Police Service last year. "There was DNA evidence but the DNA had not been used fruitfully in other approaches," he said. "So we took on the project."
36 years later: Toronto Police identify man responsible for rape and murder of 9-year-old girl
Toronto police say a cutting-edge piece of DNA analysis technology not yet used in Canada led them to solve a 36-year-old cold case involving the rape and murder of a 9-year-old girl north of Toronto. [...] Officers from the Toronto police cold case squad asked the Americans to run the DNA through an emerging mode of analysis known as genetic genealogy, which develops a whole family tree of individuals, rather than a single match.
Woodlands DNA lab IDs suspect in 1974 cold case murder
After in-house testing during a little more than a month this summer at Othram, researchers at the lab located off New Trails Drive in The Woodlands generated a genetic profile using DNA that another group extracted from the victim’s bra. Othram’s lab team narrowed down their genealogical findings to a couple with three sons. [...] Unknown to Othram during its work, one of those sons was filed as a person of interest early on in the murder investigation.
Texas crime lab helping to crack the case of a human skull found in a local family’s basement
In 2005, the quiet town was shaken, when a human skull was found in one family's basement. A workman made the gruesome discovery while cleaning a basement fire pit in the house. [...] Now with the help of groundbreaking forensic technology, a lab in Texas hopes to help find answers.
Vermont State Police partner with Texas company for DNA analysis in Brianna Maitland case
Vermont State Police are partnering with a Texas company to complete a new analysis of DNA evidence in the 2004 disappearance of 17-year-old Brianna Maitland, the agency announced this week. [...] The agency announced that its Major Crimes Unit would be collaborating with Houston-based business Othram, which specializes in forensic testing and "works on the cutting edge of DNA and scientific techniques to help identify victims, locate missing persons and uncover perpetrators of crime," according to a news release.
Columbia police announce partnership with private lab to investigate 2019 infant remains
The Columbia Police Department announced that it is partnering with Othram, a private lab, to solve an investigation into the remains of an infant, known as Baby Doe, found last year. Othram is known for forensic genealogy testing, according to a release from the department. Police said the lab's technology could potentially help identify the infant remains.
Man's body found floating near beach: A mystery in Galveston that police hope you can help solve
"We’re the first lab in the U.S. to do the entire process from evidence all the way to genealogy and ID completely in house," said Dr. David Mittelman, CEO of Othram. "We know from genetic analysis that it’s very likely that the young man is not African American, that he is actually African, and we think he might belong to an ethnic group called Bantu."
1974 Cold Case Killing of 17-Year-Old Cheerleader Carla Walker Sees Arrest of Stranger After 46 Years
"There just wasn’t enough information at the time," said Fort Worth detective Leah Wagner at press conference Tuesday announcing the arrest. Last year, she reopened the case with detective Jay Bennett of the cold case unit. They ran Walker's clothing through Othram, a private DNA lab, where it was tested with technology not available at the time.
DNA Leads To Break, Arrest In Unsolved Murder Of ‘Spitfire’ Cheerleader Who Was Kidnapped After Valentine’s Day Dance
DNA evidence recovered on clothing and a bra worn by Walker during the attack was sent to private lab Othram Inc., which was able to create a full DNA profile of a suspect, according to KXAS-TV. That, in turn, led investigators to McCurley, who was already named as a possible suspect in Walker's case file.
Suspect Arrested in 1974 Cold Case Murder of Carla Walker
NBC 5 learned on Tuesday that DNA evidence recovered from clothing and a bra worn by Walker on the night she was killed was sent to Othram, a private lab in the The Woodlands which uncovers genetic identities "through DNA, rootless hair and decades-old bones." Using a new process, detectives said the company was able to develop, for the first time in this case, a full DNA profile of a potential suspect.
Introducing Forensic Genomics
Forensic Genomics addresses how advances in genetic testing and genomic analysis can enable investigators to break through previously impenetrable forensic DNA barriers. Our goal is to accelerate the validation and adoption of new methods to support investigations that would be otherwise stall with traditional forensic testing methods.
Researchers Encourage Forensics Labs to Adopt New Genomic Technologies for Relationship Testing
David Mittelman, CEO of Houston, Texas-based Othram, which specializes in using next-generation sequencing and genetic genealogy to identify human remains and to solve cold cases, said that the field is certainly trending towards adoption of higher-resolution technologies, which is necessary, as there are specific issues with using STRs that make detecting complex relationships hard.
Pecos police hoping to identify girl who drowned 54 years ago
Pecos investigators have partnered with Othram, a forensics lab that specializes in analyzing degraded remains. Pecos PD sent the girl’s remains to the lab where they’ll extract DNA and then genealogists will use that data to connect her to a family tree.
Cold Cases Heat Up with New Forensic DNA Methods
Two years after Ben’s body was found, conventional investigative tools—fingerprints, witness statements, and missing persons reports—led nowhere. And Ben’s DNA samples, which prompted searches through the usual databases, failed to yield any hits. At this point, Florida authorities announced that they had partnered with a new company, Othram, a DNA laboratory in Texas that provides forensic genealogy services.
Another ID through DNA: Who killed Rodney Johnson?
At the time the unidentified remains were discovered, it was clear the man had been in the water “for a significant period of time,” according to the Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s Office. [...] The lab was able to obtain one-fifth of a nanogram of DNA — that is, one-fifth of a billionth of a gram. About 98% of the sample was bacteria.
Detectives use family tree to ID cold-case shooting victim
Efforts to identify the body, including through sketches made by the medical examiner's office, failed for more than two decades. But investigators this year enlisted a Texas-based DNA sequencing company, Othram Inc., to develop a genealogical profile from a degraded DNA sample extracted from the victim's tooth.
Forensic genealogy to be used in deceased hiker case
Detectives have partnered with [Othram] to identify the man using a new technique in forensic genealogy and handles the process in-house. The partnership comes after detectives determined that they had exhausted DNA searches through national missing person’s databases in March of this year and following national developments in DNA privacy.
Forensic Genomics Launching Fall 2020
Forensic Genomics, a dynamic new peer-reviewed journal, will launch its preview issue at the annual International Symposium on Human Identification (ISHI) in September 2020. The Journal will focus on the use of the latest DNA testing technologies, algorithms, artificial intelligence, and genealogical research methods to support human identification using inference tools and inductive reasoning.
Leveraging Anthropology, Forensic Genomics, and Genealogy to Restore Identity to Human Remains
Advances in DNA testing and genetic genealogy have been steadily helping forensic professionals close a growing number of seemingly “unsolvable” cases.
DNA Testing w/ David Mittelman (Part 2, audio)
In this episode, hosts Bill Thomas and Kristin Dilley discuss advanced forensic DNA testing with Dr. David Mittelman, founder and CEO of Othram in Houston, Texas.
SEMO professor, students identify remains found on Charleston farm in 1979
After more than 40 years, an identification has been made in a cold case involving burned, unidentified human remains recovered on a farm near Charleston, Missouri. [...] Through modern DNA testing of the unidentified remains, a full genome sequence was produced by Othram Inc., a private DNA laboratory in Texas specializing in recovery, enrichment and analysis of human DNA from trace amounts of degraded or contaminated materials.
New program in Houston is training future forensic scientists and digitizing DNA evidence
Houston-area's first-privately held forensic sequencing laboratory has partnered with The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center to create an academic program that will provide forensic training to genome scientists that will help them crack previously unsolved criminal cases.
DNA Testing w/ David Mittelman (Part 1, audio)
In this episode, hosts Bill Thomas and Kristin Dilley discuss advanced forensic DNA testing with Dr. David Mittelman, founder and CEO of Othram in Houston, Texas.
Forensic Genealogy: An Investigator’s Roadmap
This is an exciting time in the world of cold case investigations where advances in DNA testing are helping investigators break through previously impenetrable forensic DNA barriers. Investigators now have the chance to take new steps to solve cold cases that they just can’t let go—cases that were deemed unsolvable. The next question becomes, where do I begin?
Othram Establishes Academic Program to Train Forensic Genomics Scientists
Othram, a forensic DNA sequencing laboratory for law enforcement, has announced a program agreement with The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and its School of Health Professions to provide training for Molecular Genetic Technology (MGT) graduate students in the field of forensic genomics. [...] The MGT program is a three-semester, highly intensive course of study offered by the School of Health Professions. This unique learning experience integrates classroom lectures, laboratory demonstrations and technical experience to prepare each student for national certification as a molecular genetic technologist.
Your DNA Test Could Crack a Cold Case
DNASolves, a new database launched in November by Houston forensic genomics company Othram, was designed with these people in mind. Unlike GEDmatch and FamilyTreeDNA, the site is specifically meant to aid in criminal investigations. Unlike GEDmatch and FamilyTreeDNA, the site is specifically meant to aid in criminal investigations.
DNA solves the oldest cold case (audio)
Idaho cave first discovered in 1979, but the body remained unidentified for 40 years. We were the lab that basically took the material and produced a genome sequence from it. The twist to the story is that we produced a genome sequence and then these two genealogists discovered that the body belonged to someone who is over 100 years old.
Woodlands-Based Biotech Company is Helping Solve America’s Cold Cases
Othram uses advanced DNA sequencing and proprietary software to enable human identification applications from degraded and often scare forensic DNA evidence. The company has built the first and only private laboratory to apply the power of modern genome sequencing in a forensic environment.
Southeast Missouri State University Anthropologist Partners with Othram for Identification of Human Remains
Othram, the leading forensic sequencing laboratory for law enforcement, is working with an anthropologist from Southeast Missouri State University to use forensic genealogy to help identify human remains found on a farm in Charleston, Missouri, in 1979.
DNA testing underway on Portsmouth African Burying Ground remains
The City Council this week authorized the expenditure of up to $10,450 from the African Burying Ground Trust to conduct the DNA sequencing project, which is already underway in partnership with Othram, a Texas-based laboratory that applies cutting-edge genomics to forensics to deliver full genome insight from degraded and low-input DNA samples.
Investigators asking people to volunteer DNA to help solve cold cases
Project: Cold Case, Forensic Genealogy and Southeastern Homicide Investigators Association (SHIA) are providing free DNA testing kits at its 5th annual Year of Hope fundraiser on Saturday. The group is asking for people to participate in the testing and upload their results to DNASolves® or another public database for agencies to compare to DNA in unsolved cases. Several members of law enforcement are pledging to do the same.
Your DNA Could Catch a Criminal
My close relatives aren’t criminals, I think, but who knows what my third cousins twice removed might be involved in? I’m happy to upload my DNA to a secure database and opt in for law-enforcement searches. You should be too. Privacy scolds should pipe down. The benefits of a safer society far outweigh the risks. With enough publicity, crimes that leave physical evidence, especially murder and rape, should become a lot less common.
Forensic Genomics Market Advances Due to Consumer Databases, Technology Innovation
Othram, a new forensic genomics laboratory with in-house next-generation sequencing capabilities, introduced DNASolves.com to solicit users of consumer genomics services to upload their data for the expressed desire to help law enforcement solve cold cases. "Family Tree DNA is doing the opt-out model [with regards to law enforcement], GEDmatch is doing opt-in," said Othram CEO David Mittelman. "I thought there should be another model," he said. "Since we do nothing but law enforcement, there is nothing to opt out of."
DNA Evidence Identifies Headless Corpse in Cave as 1916 Axe Murderer
Researchers from the Texas-based Othram Inc. lab managed to extract genetic material from one of the leg bones—so remarkably preserved that an accompanying sock remained intact—and uploaded a DNA profile to several databases to search for a match. Within months, they had their man.
103-year-old murder case cracked after headless torso found in Idaho cave
As the years went on, improved technology uncovered some details about the body, such as a relative age and height. But without a head, the case went cold — until last year. Authorities in Clark County, Idaho, turned to the DNA Doe Project and experts from Othram, a tech company that sequences DNA. Genealogists then built a “genealogical tree,” which led to a huge breakthrough.
Headless Torso Found in Idaho Cave Identified as Bootlegger
The headless torso that was found in a remote Idaho cave 40 years ago has finally been identified as belonging to an outlaw who killed his wife with an ax and was last seen after escaping from jail in 1916. [...] Experts from Othram, a technology company focused on forensic DNA sequencing, analyzed a sample taken from the remains.
The Woodlands-based Othram applies DNA sequencing to aid investigations
So he raised $4 million in venture capital in November 2018 to build Othram’s lab and buy equipment for DNA extraction and sequencing, opening the lab in April. Othram’s customers, mostly law enforcement, pay for the company’s DNA extraction and sequencing services.
We’re Entering a New Phase in Law Enforcement’s Use of Consumer Genetic Data
While not the first time the technique was used, the Golden State Killer investigation was certainly the highest-profile, and it opened the floodgates to solving crimes with genetic genealogy. Law enforcement simply input DNA from unsolved cases into GEDmatch (as well as some other databases, like FamilyTreeDNA and Othram). When crime scene DNA demonstrates even a partial match, forensic genealogists can use that information to construct a family tree and determine who a suspect might be.
Othram Launches Forensic Genealogy Service for Law Enforcement
Othram announced the formation of an in-house forensic genealogy research team. This team, along with data scientists and software developers, completes Othram’s full-service forensic DNA sequencing program enabling law enforcement agencies to work with a single vendor to extract, enrich, test, and analyze DNA not amenable to other approaches.
The Genomics of Justice (audio)
David explains his vision for disrupting the state of the art in forensics identification using genomics, deep sequencing and machine learning.
Othram Aims to Overcome DNA Sequencing Challenges to Solve Forensic Crime Cases
Othram combines unique laboratory processes with our own software algorithms, to identify and eliminate noise so that we can better identify genetic data that truly corresponds to a DNA sample. We use this data to help our customers learn more about the identity of unknown persons and the circumstances in which their remains were found.
Othram Awarded Research Sequencing Grant At SXSW By Illumina Accelerator
Othram was awarded a research sequencing grant from Illumina Accelerator after presenting at SXSW for the "Digitizing Biology Through Genomics" session as part of the Energizing Health House program. Founded in 2018, Othram is a new technology company that operates a state-of-the-art forensic DNA sequencing laboratory, focusing on reconstructing genome sequences from degraded and low-input DNA sources.