DNA profile could help ID human remains found 18 years ago in DeLand

Detectives with the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office (VCSO) are hopeful that a recent DNA extraction may lead to the identification of human remains that were found in DeLand in 2006.

According to the sheriff’s office, the remains were found in a wooded area in DeLand in January of 2006. Detectives launched an investigation and determined that the deceased individual was an adult white male who stood approximately 6’1” tall.

Details of the case were entered into the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs). A decade later, in 2017, a composite sketch was created and released to the public to show how the victim may have looked during his life.

Eighteen years later, the man’s identity remains unknown.

To help solve this mystery, the sheriff’s office has partnered with Othram Inc., a forensic genetic genealogy firm that specializes in identifying remains, to analyze and research this case.

In October of 2023, VCSO teamed up with Othram Labs to leverage advanced DNA testing and genetic genealogy to pursue leads. Othram agreed to attempt the DNA extraction at a reduced cost, with the hope of raising funds through their crowdfunding campaign if the extraction was successful.

In a social media post on Tuesday, VCSO shared the news that the extraction was a success, and Othram is currently conducting genetic research in an attempt to make an identification.

The sheriff’s office has funded a portion of the cost of this research. As of March 5, 2024, over $2,500 of the $7,500 goal has been raised to help Othram Labs continue their work, and donations are being accepted online

If you have any information that could help in this investigation, the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office asks that you contact the Crime Stoppers of North East Florida by calling 1-888-277-TIPS(8477) or clicking here to submit an online report. Be sure to reference the following case number: 06-866.

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