Police: Idaho body found in 1984 to undergo DNA analysis

November 19, 2020 GMT

LEWISTON, Idaho (AP) — Authorities in Idaho have accepted an unresolved case from 1984 as part of a genetic genealogy study that could help police identify a body found 36 years ago.

Idaho County Sheriff Lt. Jerry Johnson contacted the state crime lab and asked researchers there to consider the case of the body known as “Mr. Bones,” the Lewiston Tribune reported Thursday.

“One case that I thought might benefit (from the new technology), and it was accepted, was what we lovingly refer to as ‘Mr. Bones,’” Johnson said.


A number of detectives have looked at the case through the years, “but he’s never been identified,” Johnson said. “Initially we felt he might have been a homicide victim,” but following a forensic review of the initial investigation, other possibilities opened up.

The study, funded by a $150,000 grant awarded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, will allow researchers to consider DNA and genealogical data from regular people who have agreed to put their DNA into public databases.

Hunters first discovered the remains in 1984 near the Powell Ranger Station, authorities said. The partially dismembered body was found with a few articles of clothing and a pair of glasses with one lens missing. Additional clothing and a single lens was found at an abandoned campsite a year earlier.

Pathologists first believed after reviewing the body that the person was stabbed. Additional reviews suggested the wounds were caused by wild animals gnawing on the remains.

“We’re hopeful” of getting some answers, Johnson said, adding that it could be months before any new information becomes available.