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Decades-old cold case solved after Weld County detectives identify remains found in field

Thanks to genetic genealogy, detectives were able to match DNA from remains to those of living family members
Weld County
Posted at 11:41 AM, Jun 05, 2024

DENVER — A cold case spanning more than two decades was cracked by Weld County detectives recently thanks to genetic genealogy, a spokesperson with the sheriff’s office announced Wednesday.

The case involving “John Doe 2000” had gone cold after his remains were found in a field near E. 8th St. and Weld County Road 34 on Valentine’s Day 20 years ago.

Though deputies were not able to find evidence of foul play, the man’s remains were sent to a forensic anthropologist who determined they were of a Caucasian man between 35-50 years of age who was around 5 feet and 4 inches tall.

Forensic work on the remains found no indication of trauma or foul play, and no cause or manner of death could be determined due to the man’s advanced state of decomposition, according to a news release.

Those remains would be locked away for 22 years until they were taken out of storage and analyzed using forensic genetic genealogy, which led to relatives in Nevada who willingly submitted their DNA to help solve the case.

Cold No More: How genetic genealogy is solving Colorado's cold cases

In December 2023, the Weld County Sheriff’s Office received results from that genetic genealogy testing, which identified John Doe 2000 as Christopher Scott Case, who lived in Rock Springs, Wyo., before his death. He was last seen by his half-brother in 1998 in Nevada, according to the sheriff’s office spokesperson.

“This case was as cold as they get. There was no evidence other than the human remains,” said Weld County Sheriff’s Office Cold Case Detective Byron Kastilahn. “If not for forensic genetic genealogy, Christopher Case would not have ever been identified.”

Kastilahn said the Weld County Sheriff’s Office has so far used forensic genealogy testing to identify the unknown remains of three people.

“Regardless of the passage of time, our dedication to resolving all cold cases remains unwavering,” said a Weld County Sheriff's Office spokesperson. “In cold cases such as Christopher's, we relentlessly pursue investigative leads, employ forensic tools, and hope that he will be identified, so his story will be told, and his loved ones will find peace in getting the answers they deserve.”

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