13 November, 2023
GBI Identifies 1988 Ware County Baby Jane Doe, arrests 2 in her death
The GBI has identified the remains of a small girl found near Millwood in Ware County on December 21, 1988, as Kenyatta “KeKe” Odom, of Albany, Dougherty County, Georgia. Kenyatta was 5 years old when she was found. During this investigation, the GBI Regional Investigative Office in Douglas worked with many different partners to assist in identifying Kenyatta, including Othram.
8 November, 2023
DNA technology results in arrest of Alberta man in death of young mother in 1976
RCMP have laid a murder charge against an Alberta man in the death of a young mother 47 years ago. Pauline Brazeau, a 16-year-old single mother from Saskatchewan relocated to Calgary in 1975 with her daughter. Months later, her body was found west of the city. In 2022, the RCMP sought the assistance of Othram. This led to a suspect and the arrest of 73-year-old Ronald James Edwards.
8 November, 2023
Forensic DNA testing identifies remains of female found 43 years ago
A 43-year mystery has been solved and a family is finally getting closure thanks to a partnership between the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office, the California Department of Justice and Othram. In 1980 possible human remains were located near Trinidad. The DOJ sent Othram a DNA extract from the unknown woman’s remains. Othram scientists used Forensic-Grade Genome Sequencing to build a comprehensive DNA profile for the woman. In August of 2023, the HCSO identified the woman as Denise Gail Cruz.
7 November, 2023
Six high-profile cold cases solved by Woodlands-based DNA forensics lab Othram
Since 2019, Woodlands-based forensics lab Othram has identified hundreds of victims and suspects in homicides across the United States. The lab uses forensic-grade genome sequencing and geneological data to help law enforcement agencies identify people involved in unsolved cases, according to spokesperson Kristen Mittelman. It has solved 112 cases using this method in the last 10 months. Cases range from hundred-year-old homicides to identifying serial killers and drowning victims that washed ashore.
7 November, 2023
OC murder victim identified more than 40 years later
A murder victim whose body was found in Northern Orange County more than 40 years ago was recently identified, officials announced Tuesday. Lonnie Raymond Thomas was identified as the man deputies discovered in May 1980. Othram, a private forensic biotech company, developed a DNA profile, and submitted it to the FBI. The FBI then found who they believed to be Thomas' mother, a woman living in Compton. Comparing DNA samples, the FBI was able to positively ID Thomas' body after 43 years.
2 November, 2023
Human remains found in Winlock area in 2021 have been identified
Human remains located in March 2021 on timber property near the end of Raubuck Road in Winlock have been identified, the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office announced Thursday. DNA reportedly confirmed the remains belong to Glen Michael Rudge. A contracted private company, Othram, was able to extract suitable DNA from evidence found at the scene and utilized genealogy research to identify the remains, according to the sheriff’s office.
2 November, 2023
Will County coroner’s cold case unit, Othram partner to solve four cases using forensic genetic genealogy
Brenda Sue Black was found April 1981 in New Lenox. Donald Rozek was found November 1974 in Channahon. Marie R. O’Brien was found May 1997 in Rockdale. Webster Fisher was found July 1980 at the Lockport Lock. All four were identified by the Will County coroner’s office cold case unit using Othram, a company that uses forensic genetic genealogy to help identify missing people, victims and the perpetrator of a crime.
31 October, 2023
Body found in Spokane landfill in 1989 identified through genetic genealogy
The man found dead at the Spokane Northside Landfill in 1989 finally has a name: Clifford Wayne Bippes. Bippes, 45, was identified through forensic genetic genealogy. In July, the medical examiner sent a tissue sample to Othram, a company that uses forensic-grade genome sequencing to analyze degraded DNA. Bippes’ biological son had entered his DNA into a genetic genealogy database, giving investigators a match.
31 October, 2023
Son searching for biological family helps identify man found dead in Spokane County landfill 34 years ago
A tissue sample was sent to Othram, which uses genome sequencing to extract DNA and compare it to known databases. Investigators found that a man entered his DNA into a database in an effort to track down his biological family, after being adopted at birth. He shared the same DNA as a John Doe, whose body was found in the Spokane Northside Landfill. The unknown man who died 34 years ago was no longer John Doe: his identity was revealed to be Clifford Wayne Bippes.
27 October, 2023
Woodlands-based forensics lab Othram identifies Georgia woman found slain in 1988
A Woodlands forensics lab has identified a woman found wrapped in plastic inside a trash bin in a Georgia cold case 35 years ago. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation hired The Woodlands-based Othram to identify Chong Un Kim, a South Korean woman who was 26 when she was found. As the first forensics lab of its kind, Othram uses forensic-grade genome sequencing and geneological data to help law enforcement agencies identify people involved in unsolved cases.
26 October, 2023
Peachtree City woman identified as 'Cleburne County Jane Doe' 30 years after remains found in Alabama
A 30-year-old cold case is heating up after genetic genealogy helped police identify the victim. Othram said its scientists were able to develop a DNA extract from the remains sent to them and created a DNA profile. This helped Othram develop new leads for Heflin Police Captain Scott Bonner to look into, which helped investigators trace down possible family. Bonner said last week he got confirmation from Othram that the remains found in 1990 belonged to Clara Kopp Reynolds.
21 October, 2023
Remains discovered in 2011 identified
The remains found off of Divide Road on the Uncompahgre Plateau in October of 2011 have been identified as Michael John Alonzi. The Mesa County Coroner’s Office partnered with Othram to determine if advanced forensic DNA testing could help establish an identity for the man or a close relative. Othram scientists developed a DNA extract from the forensic evidence and then developed a comprehensive DNA profile for the man. Using the new leads generated by Othram, the Mesa County Coroner’s Office investigators reached out to a potential family and eventually confirmed the unknown man was in fact Alonzi.
20 October, 2023
Murder victim in San Diego cold case identified after 50 years
San Diego police have finally identified the victim in a homicide case that had been considered “cold” for nearly 50 years. Using DNA profiling technology, investigators were able to identify the Jane Doe in a 1973 homicide as Arminda Grangela Rodrigues de Ribeiro. Othram — a private, forensic biotechnology company — was able to develop a DNA profile. The profile led to Ribeiro’s identification.
19 October, 2023
Sacramento man Rodney Rumsey identified as body in 41-year-old cold case
An important link between the California Department of Justice and a genealogy lab dedicated to law enforcement investigations helped to close a decades-old cold case and bring closure to the family of Rodney Rumsey of Sacramento. A hiker found Rumsey's body near Natural Bridges State Park in Santa Cruz County in October 1982 with investigators determining his death was likely homicide. For 41 years, the case remained cold until an important partnership along with emerging Forensic-Grade Genome Sequencing was done by Othram.
18 October, 2023
How DNA from 'Illicit' Affair Helped Crack Nurse's 1986 Cold Case Murder
Police have identified the killer of a Florida woman who was slain almost 37 years ago by linking the killer’s DNA to a child from an “illicit affair” in the family, WFLA reports. Teresa Lee Scalf, a 29-year-old nurse, was “brutally murdered” in her Lakeland, Fla., home in October 1986, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement on Monday. Police worked with Othram, Inc., a private lab for forensic genetic genealogy, to narrow down the pool of suspects. They followed the information they discovered, which led them to Douglas’ son, who cooperated with a blood sample which was then used to connect Douglas to the case.
11 October, 2023
Remains found in Arizona desert in 1982 identified as man who left home to search for gold in Nevada
Authorities said Tuesday that they have finally identified the remains of a California man "found in the vast desert" of northwest Arizona in 1982. Mohave County Sheriff's officials said advanced DNA testing concluded that the remains were those of Virgil R. Renner. A DNA sample was sent to a Othram, a genetic laboratory in Texas, that was able to identify Renner using advanced testing, forensic-grade genome sequencing and forensic genetic genealogy.
10 October, 2023
1980 John Doe case in southeast Missouri solved with DNA testing
A longtime “John Doe” case in Cape Girardeau County in southeast Missouri has been solved thanks to DNA testing. In collaboration with the Cape Girardeau County Sheriff’s Office, Dr. Jennifer Bengtson and her students submitted skeletal remains to Othram, a private DNA library, in 2020. Othram used Forensic-Grade Genome Sequencing® to develop a comprehensive DNA profile for the unknown man. The matches in the genealogy databases were distant, but Othram’s in-house forensic genetic genealogy team was able to return actionable leads.
10 October, 2023
Remains found 41 years ago in Arizona desert identified as missing gold hunter, cops say
Human remains found in the Arizona desert 41 years ago have just been identified, deputies said. Virgil R. Renner, of Humboldt County, California, went to Nevada to search for gold in the 1970s, the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office said in an Oct. 10 Facebook post. However, his remains ended up in the Arizona desert near Kingman on Sept. 9, 1982, deputies said. But for decades, no one knew who the remains belonged to. No one had any luck identifying the remains until a sample of his DNA was sent to Othram, a lab in The Woodlands, Texas, that specializes in forensic genetic genealogy.
6 October, 2023
Scooteney Reservoir bones found in 2022 identified as Othello farm laborer from Guatemala
Nearly a year after the remains of an unidentified man were discovered, advanced DNA testing has revealed the identity of the deceased. The breakthrough came in July 2023, a year after the initial discovery. With the application of Forensic-Grade Genome Sequencing®, Othram scientists achieved a comprehensive DNA profile from the skeletal remains. As the investigation proceeded, a potential relative of the unidentified man provided a DNA sample. Upon comparison, the familial relationship was affirmed, thus leading investigators to positively identify the remains as belonging to Mr. Antonio Juanes Gaspar.
5 October, 2023
Last Known Victim of 'Happy Face Killer' Identified 29 Years After Body Found on Florida Roadside
The last known victim of "Happy Face Killer" Keith Hunter Jesperson has been identified nearly three decades after her remains were discovered in Florida. The Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office announced that skeletonized remains found in 1994 belonged to Suzanne Kjellenberg. The woman was identified after the District One Medical Examiner’s Office sent samples to Texas-based company Othram, which specializes in forensic genetic genealogy. The company was then able to create a genealogical profile to assist in Kjellenberg's identification, thanks to funding from the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System.
2 October, 2023
Police solve 34-year-old Wichita murder case
The Wichita Police Department says it has identified a suspect in the 1989 murder of Krista Martin. But they say the suspect died in a car crash in Tennessee in 1999. It was 34 years ago Monday that Martin was found beaten to death in her apartment in the 500 block of S. Osage. She was 20 years old. The WPD collected DNA evidence at the crime scene, but technology at the time could not solve the case. Othram is one of the partners in Martin’s case that helped build the suspect profile. Dr. Mittelman said the lab started in 2018 and is the first in the world purposely built to identify victims and perpetrators from crime scenes.
29 September, 2023
Genealogy lab helps identify victim more than 30 years after Daytona Beach area murder
A woman murdered more than 30 years ago in the Daytona Beach area has been identified, according to the Volusia Sheriff’s Office. The remains of Roberta “Bobbie” Lynn Weber were found the woods on April 23, 1990. She was 32. The Volusia Sheriff’s Office Major Case Unit this year worked with Othram Laboratories, a forensic genetic genealogy lab in Texas, which reconstructed the victim’s family tree using information from public genealogical sites. That led investigators to a Missouri woman believed to be a sister. Detectives contacted the woman in Missouri, who said she hadn’t seen her sister Roberta since 1989.
27 September, 2023
Officials announce arrest, identification of body in 2014 Perry County homicide
The Perry County District Attorney and members of the Pennsylvania State Police announced murder charges stemming from the discovery of a body in 2014. Perry County District Attorney Lauren Eichelberger and members of the State Police revealed the identification of the John Doe victim, the arrest of a suspect, and murder charges stemming from that body discovery. Officials say that the body found on May 27, 2014 in Rye Township was identified as Michael Holober. Authorities were able to identify the body by extracting DNA in 2022 that was sent to Othram, a lab in Texas for forensic genealogical DNA testing.
22 September, 2023
New hope to solve a grisly mystery in a small Mass. town
It was a gruesome discovery 34 years ago off the side of a rural road in Warwick, Massachusetts, itself a tiny town on the New Hampshire border: the dismembered remains of a person, eventually identified as a woman. Today, the identities of the woman and the person who killed her are still not known. A sample of the remains were sent to Othram, a cutting-edge lab in Texas to see if forensic genetic genealogy can be used to identify if not the woman herself then someone in her family. The technology compares a DNA sample against databases of people who have agreed to have their DNA profiles shared with law enforcement, and can make a match not only to individuals but to relatives, even distant ones.
21 September, 2023
TBI DNA testing effort leads to identifications in decades-long cold cases
Over the last few months, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has had success in identifying human remains from cold cases across the state. But there are still cases the agency would like to close and remains to identify, and they’re working with private sources to get closer to doing so. The TBI identified 14 potential cases involving unidentified human remains that initially met the criteria for the initiative. In December 2022 the agency submitted 10 of those 14 to a private laboratory in Texas, Othram, Inc., which has conducted the DNA extraction and sequencing process. Othram was offered the contract after the public bid process was completed, according to the TBI.
20 September, 2023
Investigators identify Blount County man nearly 4 decades after his body was found by kids riding bicycles
In September 1985, the body of a man was found by two kids riding their bicycles along Buttermilk Road off Interstate 40 in Lenoir City. Authorities at the time were unable to identify him after exhausting all leads. Now, nearly four decades later and thanks to modern genetic testing, investigators know his name but the search for his murderer continues. Back in December, TBI agents submitted a sample of his remains to Othram, a private lab based in Texas, for forensic genetic genealogical (FGG) DNA testing; according to the TBI, scientists provided information about possible relatives connected to the man.
19 September, 2023
True Crime Fan Funds DNA Research, Solves Case Of Man Missing For 40 Years
A true crime fan who used to spend weekends poring over police files and sharing theories in online message boards put up the money for private DNA testing — and actually helped solve a 40-year-old cold case. After she donated to fund the investigation, Jeanne Ayotte learned last month that the remains of Francis Patrick Fitzpatrick were finally identified. Ayotte spent all day at Othram, touring its lab and meeting scientists and a genetic genealogist. Depending on the quality of the remains and the amount of genealogical research required, the company's process can cost $5,000–$10,000. Citizen sleuths who want to help can donate money via DNASolves.
17 September, 2023
Genetic genealogy helps identify 28-year-old man who drowned over 50 years ago in Spokane River
A man who drowned more than 50 years ago in the Spokane River was recently identified, thanks to forensic genetic genealogy. A marina employee discovered the body, now identified as Bruce Frank Sherman, in 1971. In 2022, the office sent a sample of Sherman's remains to Othram to analyze the man's sample. A report of Sherman's genetic network and geographical origins was returned to the office and the DNA profile was uploaded to genealogy databases. Investigators used the resulting leads to contact the man's relatives, eventually reaching a brother and cousin. A DNA sample from the brother was compared to a sample from Sherman, confirming his genetic relationship with Sherman and officially identifying the man as Sherman.
15 September, 2023
Michigan police say killer of teen in 1983 is now suspect in girl's 1982 murder; more victims possible
Four decades after a murder trail had gone cold, a man identified as the killer of Christine Castiglione in 1983 is now a suspect in 16-year-old Kimberly Louiselle's 1982 murder. DNA samples were tested at Othram Inc., a private forensic laboratory in Texas, and in 2022, three separate familial DNA comparison tests identified Charles David Shaw, 26, as the suspect in Castiglione's killing, the sheriff's office said. In June 2023, investigators found DNA from evidence in the Louiselle case and it matched the DNA found in Castiglione's case – and to Shaw.
14 September, 2023
COLD CASE | Boyd County, Ky ‘John Doe’ identified
A body discovered in 2020 in a shallow grave in Boyd County, Kentucky has been identified. Boyd County Coroner Mark Hammond confirmed on Thursday the John Doe has been identified as Zachary Taylor Pearson, who was from St. Albans, West Virginia. The coroner tells WSAZ.com a company called Othram, which is based out of Texas and runs a website called DNASolves.com, reached out to investigators and helped identify the victim.
13 September, 2023
Body found in Arizona desert identified as L.A. Army vet after 27 years
Human remains that were found in the Arizona desert 27 years ago have been identified as those of a Los Angeles man and U.S. Army veteran, authorities said. The body of Sherman George was identified using advanced DNA testing, according to Othram, a lab in Woodlands, Texas, that assisted in George’s case and uses forensics grade genome sequencing to solve similar cold cases. In February, Sheriff’s Office investigators sent forensic evidence to Othram’s lab, which established a detailed DNA profile of the man and helped identify him as George.
9 September, 2023
It Took 45 Years, but Police Have Solved This Teen's Murder
Days after 16-year-old Krisann Baxter ran away from home, her body was found in Spokane County, Washington. It was 1978, and police would spend the next three years running down every lead they could think of. In 2006, detectives had the evidence retested with improved technology, but there was no match in a nationwide DNA database known as CODIS. Eight years later, the profile was entered into another database called NDIS with the same disappointing result. In 2020, a detective sent the suspect’s genetic profile to a private lab called Othram, which determined the killer was a direct descendent of a certain deceased woman. Further genetic sleuthing yielded a name: Keith Lindblom.
7 September, 2023
Beer Cans Recovered From a Dumpster Help Send Florida Man to Prison for Life
A Florida man has been convicted and sentenced to life in prison for stabbing an unarmed convenience store clerk 73 times. Using DNA evidence linking him to the crime scene, a jury found Kenneth Stough Jr. guilty in August of murdering Terrance Paquette. A Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) analyst uploaded a DNA profile into CODIS, but no matches were ever made. In 2021, FDLE contracted with Othram, a forensic genetic genealogy laboratory in The Woodlands, Texas. Through that partnership, Kenneth Stough Jr. was identified as a suspect.
7 September, 2023
His bones were found in Tennessee 40 years ago and his killer went to prison. Who was he?
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has identified a murder victim whose skeletal remains were found more than 40 years ago in rural East Tennessee. Kenneth Levall Thompson, of Detroit, Michigan, was named as part of the TBI's Human Remains DNA Initiative, the agency announced Wednesday. In December, TBI agents submitted a sample of Thompson's remains to Othram Laboratories in Texas for forensic genetic genealogical DNA testing, and scientists provided information about possible relatives.
6 September, 2023
'Baby Doe' case still being investigated in Greene County
It's been more than five years since a pet dog brought its owner the remains of a newborn infant and still the case hasn't been solved. But local and state law enforcement authorities have not forgotten about it. "We have sent other evidence to a lab in Texas to see if they can help us, too" Chandler said. The lab is named Othram and is based in The Woodlands, Texas. "They have pulled up familial DNA to figure out who other relatives might be to trace the baby’s foot back to in this case," Chandler said. The case remains active and ongoing, Chandler said.
3 September, 2023
Butte cold case heats up after recent victim identification
A grisly discovery near Butte in 2012 when two hikers found a pair of human legs in a trash bag. The Montana State Crime Lab performed an autopsy, but the case went cold in 2013 with no hard leads. Six years later the State Department of Justice turned to a Texas lab with new technology. Scientists at Othram Labs collected DNA from the victim's legs and built up a DNA profile. Finally, 11 years after the legs turned up, officials identified the victim as 46-year-old Michael Wayne Canada.
30 August, 2023
Carla Walker Act: Texas teen killed in '70's could help fund cold cases now
Othram is now helping solve cold cases that once seemed unsolvable by using genetic DNA testing. It’s a tool that’s so effective one Texas Senator is trying to pass legislation that would provide funding, so law enforcement agencies can clear old cold cases. "This sort of technology is critical to solving crime and protecting public safety," says Senator John Cornyn. So Senator Cornyn will be proposing the Carla Walker Act which will provide federal grants to law enforcement to pay for the test.
30 August, 2023
True Crime Arizona travels to Texas for the most high-tech DNA lab in the world
In Texas, you'll find the most powerful DNA lab in the world, solving the biggest cold cases in the nation, and we got unparalleled access inside for the first time. Othram’s work is now in headline after headline. In 2019, Othram made five identifications in total. Now in 2023, they’ve made more than 1,200 identifications, sometimes five a day. Now Othram has gone worldwide, making identifications in Canada, Australia, the UK, and other places in Europe. Not only are victims getting their names back, but suspects are getting caught faster than ever.
28 August, 2023
District Attorney announces the “Lady of the Dunes” case has officially been closed
Cape and Islands District Attorney Robert J Galibois announced Monday that the investigation into the death of Ruth Marie Terry, also known as the Lady of the Dunes, has officially been closed. Her skull was placed in police custody and was never sent to the cemetery for burial with the rest of the remains. Over the years and with the development of technology, portions of the skull had been tested for potential DNA testing. In 2021, a portion of the jaw was tested by Othram, and a DNA profile was finally able to be obtained leading to the identification of the Lady of the Dunes as Ruth Marie Terry.
25 August, 2023
Serial killer 'BTK' named as 'prime suspect' in unsolved missing persons and murder cases
Dennis Rader was sentenced in 2005 after pleading guilty to killing 10 people between 1974 and 1991. Investigators are looking into whether Rader is linked to the strangulation death of Shawna Beth Garber. Investigators sent DNA from her remains to NamUs, but there wasn't a positive match in CODIS. In 2020, the McDonald County Sheriff's Office contacted Othram and worked with them in the hopes of positively identifying her or at least finding a living relative by creating a DNA profile and family tree. Othram positively identified Garber in March 2021.
23 August, 2023
Man found dead in Cowlitz River last year ID'd
A body — too decomposed to recognize when found last year in the Cowlitz River — has been identified. Using advanced forensic DNA testing, the Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office announced earlier this week they identified the body as Bryan M. Heinrich, Sr., 55. The Cowlitz County Sheriff's Office collaborated with Texas-based business Othram, a private company specializing in forensic DNA testing.
18 August, 2023
Investigators identify homicide victim 26 years after body found in Flagler County
A homicide victim has been identified 26 years after his body was found in Flagler County. The victim was unidentifiable until 2021, when his bones were submitted to Othram, a private forensic genetic genealogy corporation. With the help of their genetic genealogy team, the victim was identified as Robert Bruce McPhail, who was 58 at the time of his death.
17 August, 2023
TBI talks about identifying Cheatham County cold case victim
Brandon Elkins, who is a special agent with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, said it was in October of 1981 when hunters found skeletal remains of a young girl at an old landfill off Highway 249 in Ashland City. Investigators couldn’t identify the young girl. A DNA profile was developed and entered into CODIS and NamUs. “Unfortunately, there were no matches,” said Elkins. The TBI submitted this and 10 other cases to Othram in December 2022. Four decades later, they finally had a name – Linda Sue Karnes.
9 August, 2023
Remains found by hiker in 2014 ID’d as man last seen years before, WA officials say
A hiker stumbled upon human remains in a wooded area in 2014. DNA testing identified them as Randall Reed Priborsky, the Pend Oreille County Prosecutor’s Office said in an Aug. 7 news release. An advanced DNA profile was sent to Othram, a lab that specializes in forensic genetic genealogy. Othram genealogists and the Spokane County Medical Examiner’s Office found a potential relative to a DNA reference test. The remains were officially identified as Priborsky’s by the Pend Oreille County Coroner.
9 August, 2023
Othram and Connecticut OCME Collaborate to Bring Answers to Long-Unsolved Cases through Advanced DNA Testing Technology
The collaboration leverages state-of-the-art DNA testing and forensic genetic genealogy to resolve unsolved human remains cases.
4 August, 2023
Prosecutors Identify Human Remains Found in 2011 Near Gilgo Beach
A skull that was found in 2011 near Gilgo Beach on Long Island has been identified as that of a troubled 34-year-old woman. The skull of Ms. Vergata, who investigators said had worked as an escort, was discovered on Tobay Beach around the same time that investigators discovered the remains of 10 other people along the stretch of the South Shore. In August 2022, officials developed a DNA profile from the remains. In October, the F.B.I. confirmed they were hers, thanks to genetic material from a relative who provided a sample.
28 July, 2023
Texas DNA testing lab that identified a Bastrop cold case victim aims to 'democratize' technology
On Thursday, the Bastrop County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) held a press conference announcing they had identified the body of a 1979 Jane Doe, the victim in a 44-year-old cold homicide case. It was Othram, a DNA testing lab in The Woodlands, Texas, that linked the exhumed remains to missing person Kathy Ann Smith. BCSO connected Smith’s death to deceased serial killer Henry Lee Lucas, who they said had confessed to her murder in 1984.
27 July, 2023
Decades-long mystery solved: Bastrop County homicide victim identified 44 years later
A family now has closure after their loved one who was killed over 40 years ago was finally identified. In a press conference on Thursday, the Bastrop County Sheriff's Office gave an update on Kathy Ann Smith who was found dead in Elgin back in 1979. The Sheriff's Office worked with Texas-based company Othram to process the DNA pulled from Smith’s body. Othram has helped law enforcement on thousands of cases and their work has led to 200 being solved since 2018.
20 July, 2023
Skull buried with a mismatched torso in CA identified after decades, DNA experts say
Four decades ago, a part of a human skull was discovered on a California beach. In 2022, the Benicia Police Department partnered with Othram to identify the skull, according to Othram. Othram said it created a “comprehensive DNA profile” for the unknown woman and worked with police and the FBI to generate new leads using forensic genetic genealogy. Benicia police contacted a potential family member who helped confirm the woman’s identity as Tomye Ross Smith, Othram said.
17 July, 2023
Berrien Co. man identified by GBI as remains found in Cook Co. pond in 2019
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) has identified human remains found in a Cook County pond in March 2019. The body found was Jeremiah Garretson, 36, of Nashville. In late 2022, the GBI began working with Othram, a company that uses DNA testing to help solve cases. In 2023, the GBI sent forensic evidence to Othram. Based on DNA, a genealogical search produced investigative leads that led to Garretson being identified.
12 July, 2023
Remains identified as man missing since 2019
Remains found in Golden Valley 10 months ago have been identified as belonging to a man reported missing in 2019. The Mohave County Sheriff's Office on Tuesday said that the remains were those of Jordan Victor Carvalho, a Golden Valley man reported missing by a family member on Sept. 30, 2019. Mohave County Sheriff's Office detectives enlisted the assistance of Othram Inc., a genetic forensic company, to perform advanced DNA testing and genome sequencing.
12 July, 2023
Body found wrapped in tarp on debris pile identified as Kingman man
Investigators have learned the identity of a man who was found dead late last year in Mohave County. He’s been identified as 50-year-old Brandon Ray Parlanti of Kingman. The sheriff’s office sent a sample of the remains to Othram Inc., a company that specializes in forensic genealogy. Parlanti was positively identified this week.
11 July, 2023
Skeletal remains found in Montana forest identified years later as Army vet, reports say
Skeletal remains found by hunters in a remote area of a Montana national forest have been identified as an Army veteran, reports say. Using DNA technology, the remains were identified as Michael Moler, 63 of Midland, Texas, the Stillwater County Sheriff’s Office said in a July 10 news release. The man was between 50 to 70 years old when he died, according to Othram Inc., the forensic genealogy company that helped identify the remains.
5 July, 2023
Investigators identify remains of woman missing from New Haven for 53 years
Her disappearance was a mystery for 53 years, until last month when investigators used DNA technology to positively identify remains found in 1979 in West Haven as those of Sarah Tatham Abbott. In the West Haven case, police obtained a DNA sample from Abbott’s sister, which Othram then used to confirm Abbott’s identity, according to West Haven police Detective Tammy Murray.
3 July, 2023
Missing For 10 Years, Bones Of Joliet's Marcus Wright Found: Coroner
Marcus Wright was 24 years old when he vanished from Joliet in 2013. On Monday, Will County Coroner Laurie Summers announced that two bones found in late March in the Will County Forest Preserve are those of the missing Joliet resident. One bone was sent to Othram Inc. in Texas, along with a DNA swab from Wright's mom. Othram Inc. has partnered with the Will County Coroner Office on several occasions these last two years, resulting in the resolution of four other cold cases.
30 June, 2023
How did police identify the girl found in a Rosedale dumpster?
On May 2, 2022, a young girl’s body is found in a Rosedale dumpster. Police have no idea who she is or where she’s from. On June 29, 2023, she’s identified as Neveah Tucker, aged four, of Toronto. The advanced genetic testing company, Othram Inc., explained how it constructed a detailed genetic profile that aided investigators and ultimately led them to a positive identification.
28 June, 2023
Texas Rangers identify remains from 1999 cold case with advanced DNA test
An advanced DNA test was recently used by Texas Rangers to help solve the mystery of a Jane Doe found near Amarillo, 24 years ago. Othram created a genetic profile to generate investigative leads for the case that was returned to investigators. The Texas Ranger's Unsolved Crimes Investigation Program submitted DNA collected from the body for a test that confirmed she was Brenda Sue Guessler.
28 June, 2023
Skull, eyeglasses help St. Tammany coroner identify body in 30-year-old cold case
Using DNA technology, the St. Tammany Parish Coroner's Office identified a body found in 1993 as Joseph Lee Muniz of Burnsville, Minnesota. The Coroner's Office worked with a private DNA lab company called Othram Inc., with funding from Season of Justice, a nonprofit organization that funds investigating agencies to help solve cold cases.
27 June, 2023
A child's skull found 32 years ago has finally been identified as belonging to a 4-year-old boy who disappeared in California.
A child's skull found in 1991 in the California wilderness has been identified as belonging to a 4-year-old boy who went missing that same year. Little Derrick Burton was 4 when he vanished in San Bernardino County and his mother reported him missing, according to the local sheriff's department. Late last year, investigators sent the skull to Othram Inc., a forensic genealogy company, for DNA testing.
26 June, 2023
'Half the battle' Investigators identify cold case murder victim 27 years later
The body of a woman, who was found with significant trauma along Highway 60 in 1996, has been identified through genetic genealogy. Juana Rosas-Zagal, 41, of the Los Angeles area was identified as the victim 27 years after her body was found. Authorities were able to identify Zagal through the state's Missing and Unidentified Persons System. The county uses the company, Othram, in Texas to analyze the DNA.
23 June, 2023
Body Found Along Train Tracks Identified As Union County Woman
A woman's body found near train tracks in Elizabeth in 2020 has been identified, Union County Prosecutor William A. Daniel announced Friday. Through both detectives’ investigative efforts and DNA testing through Othram Labs, the victim was recently identified as 23-year-old Jasmine Featherstone, of Elizabeth, previously from Middletown, Connecticut, said Daniel.
14 June, 2023
Advanced DNA testing identifies remains discovered in Nevada in 1978 as Cleveland woman
Police have announced that the remains of a woman found 45 years ago in a garment bag in Nevada have been identified as those of a Cleveland woman. The Nevada State Police - Investigation Division and NamUs reached out to Othram, a company specializing in forensic genealogy, to perform advanced DNA testing on the female remains and do a genealogy search.
13 June, 2023
Bodies identified in 3 separate Charlotte cold cases using forensic genetic genealogy
Several people have been positively identified in three separate Charlotte cold cases using forensic genetic genealogy, CMPD announced. A bone sample was sent to Othram Labs in Texas where advanced DNA testing was performed.
8 June, 2023
California Serial Killer’s Victim Identified After 25 Years
A confessed serial killer told investigators he had murdered four women, including one whose torso had been found in a stream known as Ryan Slough in 1997. Across those years, one mystery has endured: Who was this woman? Although police had her DNA and ran it through databases periodically, they never got an identity match. That changed when California justice officials teamed up with the private lab Othram, who led them to a potential close relative of the victim, confirming the victim was Kerry Ann Cummings
7 June, 2023
TBI identifies homicide victim in 1986 Claiborne County cold case
A Claiborne County homicide victim classified as a 'John Doe' for over 30 years has now been identified. The skeletal remains of a man found in the Caney Valley area of Claiborne County on August 24, 1986, have now been identified as Jerry Harrison of Little Rock, Arkansas. TBI agents submitted a sample of his remains to Othram Inc., a private lab based in Texas, in December 2022 as part of the Unidentified Human Remains DNA Initiative.
5 June, 2023
Remains of Bret Snow, killed in 2015, identified by genetic genealogy
Skull fragments found in the Spokane River have been identified as belonging to Bret Robert Snow, a 32-year-old Spokane Valley man who was murdered in 2015, the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office confirmed Monday. Spokane County Medical Examiner’s Office sent both fragments to Texas-based Othram Inc., a company that specializes in extracting DNA from small or degraded samples.
2 June, 2023
Burned remains identified after over 40 years as Donald Leroy Pearson
Spokane police and investigators with the Spokane County Medical Examiner’s Office have identified a body found more than 40 years ago. A body found in a railroad tunnel under East Trent Avenue in Spokane in January of 1980 was identified as Donald Leroy Pearson, born in 1924. DNA was sent to Othram, who provided viable leads of potential relatives of the victim.
1 June, 2023
Skeletal remains from 1970 cold case identified in San Bernardino County
New evidence has helped law enforcement identify the remains of a man from a 1970 cold case death investigation in San Bernardino, officials announced on Thursday. The charred remains, burned during a brushfire, were found by a hiker near Little Sandy Creek. Authorities sent remains to Othram, a forensics laboratory in Texas that specializes in genome sequencing and human identification. Othram reported a possible DNA match to two relatives of the deceased man, who was identified as James Hollowell Harvey.
31 May, 2023
‘Trunk Lady’ ID’d by police 53 years after being found in Florida woods on Halloween night
A woman who was dubbed “Trunk Lady” after being found dead in the Florida woods on Halloween night more than 50 years ago was finally identified this week. Sylvia June Atherton was confirmed to be the woman whose strangled corpse was discovered in the woods 53 years ago, according to the St. Petersburg Police. Police sent the victim’s hair and skin taken during the original autopsy to Othram Labs in Texas for advanced DNA testing that helped determine Atherton was the slain woman.
29 May, 2023
Genealogy helps HCSO identify skeletal remains
Genetic testing has allowed the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office to identify two people whose skeletal remains were discovered separately more than 30 years ago. The remains were sent to several laboratories in an effort to obtain a DNA profile necessary for identification. In one case, representatives of Othram, a forensic genealogy company in Texas identified the body as that of Richard Paul Sargent.
25 May, 2023
TBI announces initiative to solve 10 unidentified remains cases
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has submitted samples from 10 unidentified skeletal remains to an organization to assist in finding out who they are. The TBI published the information on their website, sharing that the remains were submitted to Othram, a private lab based in Woodlands, Texas, to conduct DNA extraction and sequencing processes in December as a part of the Unidentified Human Remains Initiative.
24 May, 2023
Private lab explains how scientists cracked 1977 cold case, identified Macon Jane Doe
A private lab in Texas helped to identify Macon's Jane Doe nearly 50 years after she was killed. The Bibb County Sheriff's Office and Georgia's Criminal Justice Coordinating Council announced the victim's name is Yvonne Pless. Othram, based in Woodlands, Texas, uses forensic genetic genealogy - a combination of DNA sequencing and genealogy.
21 May, 2023
Mom identified, arrested after allegedly wrapping newborn baby in plastic bag and dumping her in woods
The woman who tied up her newborn infant in a plastic bag and threw her into the woods to die back 2019 in Forsyth County, Georgia, has been identified and arrested, the sheriff’s office said in a press conference Friday. The sheriff’s office worked with Othram Labs to identify the baby's birth parents so detectives could ultimately investigate the case and make an arrest. Othram Labs “uniquely offers in-house processing of evidence, from DNA extraction, enrichment, and repair, to sequencing and genealogy.”
18 May, 2023
Sask RCMP identify human remains through forensic genealogy firm
RCMP have identified human remains found in 2021 with help from Othram, a forensic genealogy firm. Sask. RCMP Major Crimes determined the remains were that of Kassandra Jorquera. In 2022, investigators had enlisted help from the forensic genealogy firm from Texas. Othram scientists used Forensic-Grade Genome Sequencing to develop a comprehensive DNA profile for the woman. Othram's in-house genealogy team used the profile to develop investigative leads that were returned to the law enforcement investigators.
18 May, 2023
With the power to reach across generations, genetic genealogy is solving the unsolvable
Othram is one of several labs using forensic genetic genealogy to try and solve cold cases – murders, rapes and other violent crimes, or even just identifying human remains. More traditional DNA testing hit a limit if there was not a known person in a DNA database against which to compare the sample, but forensic genetic genealogy can match a DNA sample to people in the suspect's family tree, so long as a relative is in one of the DNA databases being checked. It can even be a distant relative.
17 May, 2023
Woman indicted on charges relating to Lexington man's death in 2022
Jennifer Kashuba was indicted Wednesday on charges relating to a man's death in 2022 in Lexington. Advanced decomposition made identifying the man difficult. The coroner's office collaborated with Othram to use advanced forensic DNA testing to identify him as Jimmy Medlock. After Medlock was identified as the victim, he was linked to Kashuba through public assistance housing records.
16 May, 2023
‘We know 100 percent it was her’: Lincoln County murder victim identified after 33 years
More than 30 years after her body was discovered in the bushes at a rest stop in Lincoln County, officials say they have identified the female homicide victim as Melinda Lou Barnhouse of Maryland. Othram’s in-house genealogy team then leveraged a profile they built to conduct extensive genetic genealogy research, ultimately providing investigative leads to law enforcement.
16 May, 2023
Do you know this Milwaukee Jane Doe? She may have ties to Atlanta
Forty-one years ago, a young woman’s body was pulled from the Milwaukee River in Wisconsin. There was no evidence of foul play, and her death was ruled an accidental drowning. But her identity has remained a mystery. With all leads exhausted, the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s Office reached out to Othram in 2022 with the hope of identifying the woman or a relative who could identify her.
11 May, 2023
Opinion: Queens district attorney's Cold Case Unit solves backlog of cases, brings closure for families
Martin Motta was arrested for the 1976 murder of an 81-year-old World War I veteran, George Clarence Seitz. My office sought the assistance of the FBI and Othram, a private forensic laboratory in Texas, to generate leads as to the unknown victim's identity. This was the first successful prosecution of a case using forensic genetic genealogy in New York City.
9 May, 2023
Solving the unsolved: Decades-old cold cases cracked by Houston-area forensic lab
Cold cases, some decades old are being cracked in Houston because of technology at Othram, a first-of-its-kind lab in the world that was purposefully built to identify perpetrators or victims from crime scenes. The technology is capable of testing evidence with degraded or trace amounts of DNA. To date, Othram has returned investigative leads in more than 1000 cases.
1 May, 2023
Arrest made in 1988 murder of young Three Rivers mother
A suspect now faces charges for the killing of a young mother in her Three Rivers apartment more than three decades ago. For nearly 35 years, who killed 19-year-old Cathy Swartz has been a mystery. But now investigators say they have an answer: Robert Waters. Forensic genetic genealogy, which pairs DNA analysis and genealogy research, brought the list of suspects down to a single family and then, finally, Waters.
17 April, 2023
Human remains found near Kingman identified as missing man
Detectives say human remains found near Kingman over two years ago have now been identified as a missing man. The Mohave County Sheriff’s Office said the remains found were 56-year-old Brian Crain, who lived in Golden Valley. Detectives then contacted Othram, a corporation specializing in forensic genealogy, which was able to identify Crain using advanced DNA testing and genetic genealogy.
17 April, 2023
Galveston man washed ashore identified nearly 3 years later from DNA testing
Investigators have finally identified the body of a man found washed ashore on Galveston Island nearly three years later. Galveston police identified the body as 26-year-old Calvin Mbwambo, an exchange student from Tanzania. Galveston Police Department partnered with Othram to see whether DNA testing and forensic genetic genealogy would lead to the identity of the young man.
13 April, 2023
Santa Cruz Sheriff’s Office IDs victim in 24-year-old cold case
Known merely as “John Doe” and “Huck” for the past 24 years, a man found dead in the Santa Cruz Mountains more than 24 years ago has been identified. The Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office’s forensics services team, utilizing forensic genetic genealogy techniques, paired with Othram to reveal the man’s identity as Eric P. Cupo, authorities announced in a social media post this week.
13 April, 2023
Skeletal remains found 42 years ago near Sandy identified
Skeletal remains found 42 years ago near the town of Sandy, Oregon, have been identified, Oregon State Police announced Thursday. They are identified as belonging to Illya “Ella” Wilkins. In July 2022, a bone sample was submitted to Othram, a private DNA lab that specializes in advanced forensic DNA testing.
11 April, 2023
Carlsbad murder solved after 36 years. Here's what we know
The Carlsbad Police Department said new evidence, mainly DNA analysis, helped solve a 36-year-old cold case. In July 1987, the body of Donna Sue Hyatt was found at her home. On April 11, 2023, investigators with Carlsbad Police announced that they suspect Michael Ruff Wigley had committed the murder. Detectives worked with Othram to test DNA collected from the crime scene against DNA collected from the exhumed remains of Wigley.
10 April, 2023
Human remains found in 1990 identified as teen homicide victim
Human remains found in rural Northern Nevada have been identified as those of a slain 19-year-old woman who went missing more than 30 years ago, authorities said Monday. Othram, a Texas lab that partners with law enforcement to solve cases, extracted DNA from the remains and used genetic genealogy to identify the woman.
31 March, 2023
Montana woman identified in 1982 Washington cold case, reported missing in 1968
The Pend Oreille County Coroner's Office has identified the remains of a person found in 1982 in Washington. According to the Coroner's Office, the woman is Mildred Christine (Allison) Hubertz. Hubertz was reported missing in 1968 from St. Ignatius, Montana. In 2022, the Spokane County Medical Examiner's Office invited the Pend Oreille Coroner's Office to collaborate with Othram, a company specializing in degraded DNA.
29 March, 2023
Man identified after his body was found in Troy, Missouri, 38 years ago
The remains of a person found in Troy, Missouri, in 1984 were linked to a man that disappeared in 1982, detectives announced Wednesday. Jack Langeneckert of Florissant was the victim of a homicide, forensic scientists determined. Detectives teamed up with Southeast Missouri State University to solve the case. A group of anthropology students sent data to Othram labs and found a match.
29 March, 2023
Woman found dead in Spokane 40 years ago identified through genetic genealogy, but more questions remain
With the help of DNA and genetic genealogy, Spokane police last month identified a woman found dead along the Spokane River nearly 40 years ago. But while investigators now know her name was Ruth Belle Waymire, another mystery remains: Who killed her? Last fall, not long after genetic genealogy helped solve the cold case killing of Candy Rogers in Spokane, Spokane police Sgt. Zac Storment sent DNA to Othram Inc. for analysis.
27 March, 2023
Woman found dead 45 years ago in Mississippi identified as young mother: "How do we find out who did this?"
The body of a woman found in 1978 that was dumped at an illegal landfill in Mississippi's Rankin County has been identified, investigators said. Using DNA testing on the remains of the body, the Rankin County Coroner's Office positively identified the victim as Tonya Lea Wills Mullins, who was 22 years old when she disappeared, according to a Thursday news release from DNASolves, a database that helps law enforcement solve cold cases.
24 March, 2023
Texas company details how they helped solve 49 year Gatlinburg cold case
One of East Tennessee's oldest cold cases has now been solved after remains nearly 50 years old have been positively identified thanks to the help of Othram Labs in Texas. According to the Gatlinburg Police Department, Charlotte Roberta Henry was missing since August of 1974 after Henry’s sister told investigators she was last seen at their father’s funeral. After getting the case in 2021, Dr. Kristen Mittelman with Othram Labs said they were able to positively identify the remains as Henry using an extensive process.
23 March, 2023
Georgia baby murder in college dorm solved decades later
The mother of a newborn baby boy found fatally stabbed at a University of Georgia dormitory building decades ago has been identified as the killer, authorities said. The case languished for years until 2021, when DNA testing led investigators to the baby's parents. "I am appreciative of the dedication of all of the personnel involved in this effort – both those who work at the UGA Police Department and our partners, such as the scientists at Othram," University of Georgia Chief of Police P. Daniel Silk said in a statement.
23 March, 2023
Woman found dead behind Georgia hotel in 1993 identified through DNA testing: "The work doesn't end here"
Almost three decades after her remains were found in the woods behind a hotel outside Atlanta, a woman who police suspect was the victim of a violent killing in 1993 has now been identified. Her name was Rebecca "Becky" Burke. Burke was eventually identified through forensic genetic genealogy, an advanced form of DNA testing that involved the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System and Othram, a company that specializes in forensic genealogy to help solve cold cases.
22 March, 2023
'Scorpion Girl' Found Dead on Staten Island Is Identified After 31 Years
For almost 30 years, detectives knew her only as the Scorpion Girl. But a vial of her blood and her tissue that was kept by the medical examiner’s office helped police in New York and investigators in the F.B.I. and Richmond County district attorney’s office finally figure out who she was: Christine Belusko. Her blood and tissue were sent to a laboratory in the Woodlands, a suburb of Houston, around 2019, and the results were run through DNA databases.
21 March, 2023
How detectives identified human remains of Maury Co. mother
It took years and thousands of dollars for Maury County detectives to identify a woman they found in the woods. Detectives with the Maury County Sheriff’s Department say a big family tree made it difficult to figure out the remains belonged to Amanda Newcomb. They found her skeleton in a remote area of Maury County off Hood Road. Lt. Sam Voss says they didn’t have a clue who it was when they found the body in 2020, so they sent the remains to a private lab in Texas.
21 March, 2023
Will County Coroner's office identifies man found dead in crate in 1980
Investigators in Will County say DNA findings have helped identify a man found dead nearly 43 years ago. In 2021, the coroner's office – under new Coroner Laurie Summers – partnered with Othram, a private lab for advanced DNA testing. On Feb. 16, 2023, Othram found possible relatives of the victim – whom they believed to be a man named Webster Fisher.
10 March, 2023
Genetic genealogy cracked cold case of Louisiana newborn killed, dumped in trash
Detective Rhonda Johnson reopened the investigation of a newborn girl whose body had been found in a garbage bag that was tossed into a dumpster in 1992. With the help of the Mississippi Bureau of Investigations, the Louisiana State Police and genetic genealogy work by the Othram Labs in Texas, authorities say they've identified the people who killed the infant just minutes after she was born — her parents. Othram analysts created a DNA profile for the baby that genetic genealogists used to place the baby in a family tree and identify possible relatives. They found Baby Doe's grandparents.
9 March, 2023
Three decade old cold case solved with DNA testing
A cold case over 30 years old was solved with the help of advanced forensic DNA testing company Othram in Texas. The victim’s name was Etus Thomas “ET” Romero. In 2022, the Mesa County Sheriff’s office sent Romero’s DNA to Othram’s lab to create a DNA profile. The profile was used by the sheriff’s office to then match the DNA with a surviving family member. It confirmed a sibling relationship. Romero was a veteran, just 26 when he was stabbed to death.
8 March, 2023
Kentucky detectives crack murder and rape of teen in 1976
Detectives in northern Kentucky say they’ve solved the 1976 rape and murder of a teenage girl using DNA technology. Carol Sue Klaber was last seen leaving her parents’ home on June 4, 1976, after dropping off her bike and getting into a car driven by a man with sandy blonde hair. For years, Carol Sue’s murder went unsolved. In 2017, the Boone County Sheriff’s Office cold-case detectives, Coy Cox and Tim Adams gave the case a second look. Last fall, Cox and Adams contacted Othram Labs, a genetic genealogy company that assists law enforcement with investigations. They sent the evidence to the lab and obtained funding for the testing from Season of Justice.
8 March, 2023
DNA Identifies Remains Displaced by Hurricane Katrina
In 2021, a skull from an unknown female was discovered in the Gulf of Mexico in Biloxi, Harrison County, Mississippi. In November 2021, the Mississippi State Medical Examiner’s Office teamed with Othram to use Forensic-Grade Genome Sequencing to help generate leads that might identify the unknown female or a family member. The skull was sent to Othram’s laboratory, and Othram scientists developed a suitable DNA extract and built a comprehensive DNA profile to enable genealogical research. Mississippi native and philanthropist Carla Davis executed the genealogical research necessary to generate investigative leads for the agency. Investigators used the leads to complete their investigation and confirm that the unknown female was a teenager from Clinton, Mississippi.
8 March, 2023
Cold case solved: Racine Police make arrest in 2000 killing of Linda Fields
The Racine Police Department has announced an arrest and charges in the 23-year-old cold case homicide of Linda Fields. DNA evidence allowed them to arrest Lucas Alonso, 66, of Zion, Illinois. The medical examiner at the time of her death concluded she had been strangled. But the DNA from a sole male, according to police, did not trigger any matches in state and national DNA databases at the time. About 20 years later, with the help of Othram, investigators found a DNA match after expanding their search to include family members of the DNA profile.
7 March, 2023
'Granby Girl' Shot Dead in 1978 Killing Identified by DNA: 'It's Satisfying to Finally Know'
Authorities in Massachusetts have identified the tragic victim of an unsolved 1978 homicide case. Patricia Ann Tucker was 28 when she was shot in the head and died in the woods outside Granby, Mass., a press release from the Northwestern District Attorney obtained by PEOPLE revealed Monday. It wasn't until about two years ago, the press release said, that authorities in Mass. began working with a Texas-based private forensic laboratory called Othram, which was able to analyze Tucker's DNA profile. Using forensic genetic genealogy, a female relative living in Maryland was identified.
5 March, 2023
Remains found in 1997 identified as missing Aurora woman
After more than a quarter of a century, skeletal remains found in a Will County landfill have been identified as those of a missing Aurora woman. Marie R. O'Brien, who had not been seen or heard from by family since 1984, was identified through DNA testing following an investigation by the Will County Coroner's Cold Case Division, the county sheriff's office and a private laboratory, officials said. In 2021, Coroner Laurie Summers partnered with Texas-based Othram Inc., which developed a DNA profile of the remains and submitted it to a family tree database, which narrowed down leads, authorities said.
3 March, 2023
A man was found dead in California river 25 years ago, cops say. His ID is now known
As a father and son were boating on a California river in search of driftwood 25 years ago, they spotted [human remains] in the water. The sheriff’s office said it recovered the body, but despite decades of investigation, the man’s identity would remain a mystery. Twenty-five years after he was found, the man has regained his name — Jeffery Todd Sydow. In December, the sheriff’s office said it partnered with Othram, a forensic genealogy company, to see if “advanced forensic DNA testing” could be used to identify the man. A DNA sample from the remains was sent to Othram, which “used forensic genome sequencing to build a comprehensive DNA profile for the man,” the sheriff’s office said. From there, the company turned to forensic genetic genealogy for leads.
3 March, 2023
‘Relief and closure’ for family of Spencer Island John Doe from 1979
Even his family still has many questions about the man in the red checkered shirt, who was nameless for 44 years. After years of genealogical research and four decades of advances in DNA technology, investigators have finally answered an important question that could lead to more: his identity. He was Gary Lee Haynie, born under another name in Topeka, Kansas. Snohomish County investigators now have only three such cases left to solve in the county. Othram has helped Snohomish County investigators with several other remains cases in the past, extracting genetic profiles to upload to ancestry databases. That way, a genealogist can build the unnamed person’s genetic family tree, find his family and ultimately figure out his name.
28 February, 2023
Human remains found in rural Ward County identified
The body of a man found dead in rural Ward County in October has been identified. According to the Ward County Sheriff’s Department, 63-year-old Manly Bacon’s body was found along Highway 83 south of Minot on Oct. 1. The department said he was likely dead for six weeks at the time. The Sheriff’s Department hired Othram, a private forensic lab located in The Woodlands, Texas, to develop a DNA profile from the remains, which was then matched to a sibling of Manly Bacon.
27 February, 2023
Coroner identifies victim in 2022 Cambridge Drive homicide, suspect charged with murder
Lexington Police say a woman was arrested and charged Monday for a 2022 homicide. 35-year-old Jennifer Kashuba was arrested and charged with murder, abuse of a corpse, and tampering with physical evidence. On February 17, 2022, at around 9:30 p.m., police and LFD responded to the 2000 block of Cambridge Drive for reports of a dead body. They located the body near a dumpster. The Fayette County Coroner's Office identified the victim as 40-year-old Jimmy Lawrence Medlock. His cause of death was a laceration/stab wound to the chest. Advanced decomposition made identification difficult. The coroner's office collaborated with Othram DNA Laboratory to use advanced forensic DNA testing to identify Medlock.
23 February, 2023
Mysterious 'Lady in the Fridge' Murder Victim Identified After 27 Years
For almost three decades, she was known only as "the lady in the fridge." Now, she finally has a name. The San Joaquin County Sheriff's Cold Case Unit investigators on Thursday identified the mysterious homicide victim, found stuffed lifeless into a refrigerator, as Amanda Lynn Schumann Deza. According to DNA laboratory Othram, who partnered with the department to solve the puzzle, forensic genetic genealogy was used to produce investigative leads, which eventually led to contact with what was thought to possibly be Deza's mother and daughter. When they provided their DNA sample to compare, the match led to a confirmation of Deza's identification.
22 February, 2023
DNA, genealogy websites help solve 40-year-old Livingston County cold case
Christina Castiglione, 19, of Redford Township was reported missing by her mother on March 21, 1983, and her body was found eight days later in Deerfield Township in Livingston County. Forty years later, police believe that Charles Shaw was responsible for Castiglione's death, officials said during a news conference Wednesday. The Livingston County Sheriff Office's Cold Case team had been working on Castiglione's case for several years, but advanced genetic testing helped them pinpoint Shaw. The Sheriff's Office sent the DNA evidence to Othram in May. Othram scientists were able to build a family tree using Shaw's uncle, and the Sheriff's Office obtained DNA samples from his son and brother. Analysis by Othram confirmed that the suspect from 1983 was the father and brother of those samples, leading them to Shaw.
22 February, 2023
A Washington cold case involving a woman's foot found in a New Balance sneaker has been solved
A foot that was discovered near a river in northwest Washington in 2021 has finally been identified as a woman who went missing more than five years ago, authorities said. With the help of DNA testing, authorities were finally able to confirm the foot belonged to 68-year-old Jerilyn L. Smith. In 2022, authorities worked with Othram, a private lab in Texas, to see if forensic DNA testing could help identify the woman or a close relative, with crowdfunding used through DNASolves to cover the cost. The lab eventually found a possible ID, with a list of surviving family members linked to the possible identity. Authorities contacted one of the possible family members, who provided a voluntarily DNA sample to the Othram Labs. The lab confirmed a match, identifying the foot belonging to Smith.
8 February, 2023
Othram and Sorenson Forensics Partner to Develop a Unified Workflow for ISO17025-Accredited Forensic DNA Testing
The new partnership will enable cutting-edge FGG tools for previously tested casework and will also establish a combined workflow for current cases or cases that have not been entered into CODIS yet.
8 February, 2023
Private lab company helps crack a 36-year-old Lexington cold case: Here's how they did it
A private lab played a significant role in helping identify the suspect in the murder of Mary Davis. The Lexington Police Chief says Othram labs incorporated and used advanced technology to solve the case. A partnership between the Lexington Police Department, the NC State crime lab, the SBI, and key partner Othram, helped put the missing pieces together. "It was the magic piece that needed to seal the deal," Robby Rummage with Lexington Police Chief said on Othram.
6 February, 2023
Las Vegas police solve two homicide cold cases from the 1990s
Monday was a day of closure for the loved ones of two women who were murdered in the 1990s, a pair of cold cases that had remained unsolved until now. At an afternoon news conference, the Metropolitan Police Department announced DNA testing had confirmed the identity of the man who sexually assaulted and killed both women. Police say Eddie George Snowden Jr. killed 31-year-old Lori Ann Perera and 35-year-old Pearl Wilson Ingram in separate instances. “DNA collected during the initial investigation, and DNA collected from the family member of the suspect ultimately identified who he was,” Metro Police Lt. Jason Johansson said. Last year, Metro cold case investigators requested a genealogical investigation from forensics company Othram. Snowden was then identified as the perpetrator.
6 February, 2023
Remains found by rafters in 1989 identified as man missing since 1964, Oregon cops say
DNA testing recently identified skeletal remains found by a group of rafters in 1989, authorities in Oregon said. The remains were identified as David West Jr., who disappeared during a flood in 1964, the Sherman County Sheriff’s Office said in a Monday, Feb. 6, news release. A DNA sample was created and a profile was added to the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS), a DNA database run by the FBI. But a genetic association wasn’t made, deputies said. The medical examiner’s office then sent another sample to Othram, a private DNA lab. The lab used a genome sequencing technique and named two of West’s relatives.
6 February, 2023
Man who raped, killed 2 women in Las Vegas early 90s cold cases identified
Two women were raped and murdered within two years of each other in Las Vegas in the early 1990s. Their killer went undetected for decades — until Monday. In a news conference, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Lieutenant Jason Johansson announced that the department had identified who attacked and killed them. The suspect was identified as Eddie George Snowden Jr. thanks to DNA from a relative. In 2022, a DNA profile was sent to Othram, Inc. a company that has used DNA to solve numerous other missing identity and cold cases.
1 February, 2023
Dying woman found by Georgia road is identified 37 years later as Florida mom of four
A Florida mom was missing for decades before she was identified as a woman found dying along a Georgia road. On May 14, 1985, an “injured and unconscious” woman was spotted along state Highway 91 in Baker County, north of Newton, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. “The woman was taken to the hospital in Albany, GA, where she died from her injuries on Saturday, June 1, 1985,” officials wrote in a news release. For decades, the woman’s identity remained a mystery. But after DNA helped to provide clues, she was identified as Mary Anga Cowan. Officials said they partnered with the DNA company Othram to look into the woman’s family history and shared their findings with the FBI for “genealogical research.”
31 January, 2023
Man whose skull was found on Pennsylvania riverbank in 1986 is positively identified
Officials have positively identified a man whose skull was found on a riverbank in 1986, giving answers to a family who hasn’t seen the victim since 1984. In September 2022, detectives sent the skull to Othram Inc., a forensic DNA lab in Texas, for help in identifying the person. Othram said in a statement that scientists "developed a viable DNA extract from the skeletal remains" and created a "comprehensive DNA profile" using genome sequencing. Then, they reportedly found a "possible match" to someone who used a public genealogy database and identified the remains as belonging to Thomas Richard Alt.
28 January, 2023
Crowdfunded DNA effort helps identify woman found murdered 50 years ago
A community-funded DNA project has helped detectives identify a murdered woman whose remains were stuffed in a canvas sack and dumped in the Arizona desert more than half a century ago. Authorities named the victim as Colleen Audrey Rice. The identification was made in partnership with a forensic genealogy company, Othram Inc. The Mohave county sheriff’s office put up an initial $1,000 and posted the case to the dnasolves.com website last year, which helped raise the money in only five days. A sheriff’s office Facebook post dated 24 January said its cold case investigators worked with Othram “to determine if advanced DNA testing and forensic-grade genome sequencing could help give insight into the identity of this woman and the circumstances surrounding her untimely death”.
26 January, 2023
Crowdfunded DNA test identifies woman found dead in the desert in 1971
In 1971, hunters discovered a woman dead in the Arizona desert. She lacked identification. Her file sat in the Mohave County Sheriff's Office for decades until investigator Lori Miller pulled it out in the summer of 2020, determined to finally solve the mystery. She quickly exhausted all of her options, and decided a genealogical test was her final option in May and contacted Othram. Othram's tests work by building a “comprehensive” genetic profile using DNA extracted from remains, founder David Mittelman said. Miller and an Othram genealogist searched through family trees, eventually finding a strong match in Ohio. Colleen Rice now has a name.
25 January, 2023
Troopers: DNA identifies woman killed in 1987 Somerset County wreck
Advances in DNA testing allowed state troopers to solve a 35-year-old cold case — identifying a woman who died in a crash in 1987 on the Pennsylvania Turnpike in Somerset County. Investigators said the woman, Linda Jean McClure, 26, of Indiana, Pa., was a passenger in a tractor-trailer that crashed in 1987. Over the years, multiple attempts were made to identify her — including a DNA laboratory test in 2019 — "but it didn't provide good enough results" to help investigators close the case. An evidence sample was tested by Othram Inc., a private forensics-focused lab that helps law enforcement officials across the U.S. solve cases. The results provided enough details to link the woman to western Pennsylvania. McClure's brother submitted a DNA sample for comparison that confirmed the match.
19 January, 2023
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.
15 January, 2023
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.
12 January, 2023
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.
4 January, 2023
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.
20 December, 2022
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.
16 December, 2022
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.
15 December, 2022
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.
2 December, 2022
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.
29 November, 2022
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.
12 November, 2022
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.
9 November, 2022
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.
2 November, 2022
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.
1 November, 2022
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.
28 October, 2022
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.
26 October, 2022
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.
25 October, 2022
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.
25 October, 2022
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.
21 October, 2022
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.
19 October, 2022
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.
18 October, 2022
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.
16 October, 2022
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.
14 October, 2022
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.
13 October, 2022
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.
5 October, 2022
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.
27 September, 2022
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.
26 September, 2022
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.
26 September, 2022
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.
26 September, 2022
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.
8 September, 2022
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.
8 September, 2022
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.
1 September, 2022
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.
30 August, 2022
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.”
22 August, 2022
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.
11 August, 2022
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.
8 August, 2022
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.
1 August, 2022
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."
7 July, 2022
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.'
28 June, 2022
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.
6 June, 2022
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.
3 June, 2022
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.
2 June, 2022
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.
29 May, 2022
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.
27 May, 2022
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.
20 May, 2022
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.
17 May, 2022
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.
12 May, 2022
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.
11 May, 2022
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.
29 April, 2022
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.
27 April, 2022
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."
25 April, 2022
‘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.
15 April, 2022
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.
14 April, 2022
‘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.
13 April, 2022
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.
11 April, 2022
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.
1 April, 2022
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.
31 March, 2022
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."
25 March, 2022
‘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.
22 March, 2022
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.
18 March, 2022
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.
15 March, 2022
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.
11 March, 2022
‘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.
10 March, 2022
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.
10 March, 2022
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.
9 March, 2022
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.
4 March, 2022
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.
4 March, 2022
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.
22 February, 2022
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.
22 February, 2022
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.
18 February, 2022
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.
2 February, 2022
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.
29 January, 2022
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.
27 January, 2022
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.
27 January, 2022
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.
27 January, 2022
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.
25 January, 2022
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.
24 January, 2022
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.
20 January, 2022
'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.
13 January, 2022
‘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.
13 January, 2022
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.
12 January, 2022
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.
3 January, 2022
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.
16 December, 2021
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.
10 December, 2021
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.
7 December, 2021
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.
6 December, 2021
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.
6 December, 2021
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.
1 December, 2021
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.
30 November, 2021
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.
29 November, 2021
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.
29 November, 2021
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.
24 November, 2021
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.
17 November, 2021
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.
16 November, 2021
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.
13 November, 2021
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.
12 November, 2021
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.
9 November, 2021
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.
8 November, 2021
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.
8 November, 2021
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.
3 November, 2021
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.
26 October, 2021
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.
24 October, 2021
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.
23 October, 2021
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.
22 October, 2021
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.
13 October, 2021
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.
6 October, 2021
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.
30 September, 2021
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.
23 September, 2021
“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.
21 September, 2021
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.
21 September, 2021
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.
20 September, 2021
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.
17 September, 2021
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."
16 September, 2021
'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.
16 September, 2021
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.
14 September, 2021
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.
1 September, 2021
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.
24 August, 2021
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.
24 August, 2021
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.’
12 August, 2021
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.
12 August, 2021
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.
9 August, 2021
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.
7 August, 2021
'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.
2 August, 2021
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.
29 July, 2021
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.
26 July, 2021
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.
23 July, 2021
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.
22 July, 2021
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.
21 July, 2021
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.
16 July, 2021
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.
30 June, 2021
‘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.
30 June, 2021
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.
29 June, 2021
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?”
25 June, 2021
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.
14 June, 2021
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.
10 June, 2021
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.
4 June, 2021
'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.
28 May, 2021
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."
13 May, 2021
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.
12 May, 2021
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.
10 May, 2021
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.
10 May, 2021
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.
10 May, 2021
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.
7 May, 2021
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.
6 May, 2021
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.
26 April, 2021
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.
26 April, 2021
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?
19 April, 2021
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.
15 April, 2021
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.
12 April, 2021
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.
1 April, 2021
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.
31 March, 2021
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.
31 March, 2021
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.
15 March, 2021
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.
25 February, 2021
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.
22 February, 2021
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.
12 February, 2021
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.
3 February, 2021
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.
20 January, 2021
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.
12 January, 2021
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.
11 January, 2021
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.
11 January, 2021
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.
4 December, 2020
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.
4 December, 2020
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.
2 December, 2020
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.
1 December, 2020
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.
2 November, 2020
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.
28 October, 2020
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.
27 October, 2020
‘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."
23 October, 2020
'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.
22 October, 2020
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.
16 October, 2020
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.
16 October, 2020
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."
15 October, 2020
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.
10 October, 2020
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.
5 October, 2020
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.
30 September, 2020
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.
24 September, 2020
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.
23 September, 2020
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."
23 September, 2020
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.
23 September, 2020
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.
22 September, 2020
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.
17 September, 2020
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.
10 September, 2020
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.
1 September, 2020
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.
1 September, 2020
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.
13 August, 2020
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.
12 August, 2020
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.
15 July, 2020
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.
13 May, 2020
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.
1 May, 2020
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.
27 April, 2020
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.
25 April, 2020
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.
21 April, 2020
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.
20 April, 2020
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.
16 April, 2020
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?
6 April, 2020
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.
11 March, 2020
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.
4 March, 2020
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.
14 February, 2020
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.
14 February, 2020
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.
8 February, 2020
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.
23 January, 2020
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.
12 January, 2020
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.
9 January, 2020
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."
7 January, 2020
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.
1 January, 2020
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.