Human remains found in 2003 belong to man missing since 1970

January 12, 2022 GMT

CAMBRIDGE, Minn. (AP) — Human remains found buried in Isanti County in 2003 have finally been identified as a 22-year-old man missing since 1970, sheriff’s officials said Wednesday.

According to the Isanti County Sheriff’s Office, investigators have long believed Donald Rindahl was a homicide victim, but his death has been classified as undetermined.

The skeletal remains were discovered in August 2003 near Cambridge during an excavation project.

The long process of identifying the remains began when the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension entered a DNA profile from the remains into missing person databases. There were no hits. A facial reconstruction also was done and publicized.

With advancements in technology, the DNA was submitted to a lab in 2019 and 2020 with no results. Last year, it was sent to a lab in Texas, Othram, that uses a newer technology to build DNA profiles from skeletal remains. Othram was able to develop a match with a distant relative.


Sheriff’s investigators eventually located two siblings of Rindahl and one confirmed their brother had been missing since 1970. Family members were told that the FBI had been looking for him prior to his disappearance in connection with illicit drugs, the Star Tribune reported.

DNA samples from the siblings were compared to those taken from the remains. In December, the BCA said the DNA comparison confirmed the remains as belonging to Rindahl.

Sheriff’s officials say they believe there may be people still alive today that know what led to Rindahl’s death.