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Jasper County John Doe

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Redgrave Research Forensic Services has taken on the case of Jasper County John Doe (NamUs #UP11379), an unidentified victim of serial killer Larry Eyler. Working with Andy and Diana Boersma of the Jasper County Coroner’s Office, we are preparing to perform forensic genetic genealogy in an attempt to discover his identity. Forensic genetic genealogy intern Bryan Worters will be co-leading the case alongside Anthony Redgrave. Because of the possibility that the victim was LGBTQ+, the case is being considered within the scope of the Trans Doe Task Force/LAMMP (LGBTQ+ Accountability for Missing and Murdered Persons), and an all LGBTQ+ and informed ally genealogy team is being assigned to the case.

Case Synopsis: 

On the morning of October 15th, 1983, an individual who was setting and checking fox traps on private property near the town of Rensselaer in Jasper County, Indiana came across what he believed to be human remains. He immediately contacted the Jasper County Sheriff’s police, with responding officer Paul Ricker being the first on the scene. 

Ricker and his colleagues observed partial skeletal remains strewn about the property, with many of the pieces fragmented. After the bone fragments were gathered, they were sent to Jasper County’s (then) coroner, Dr. Stephen Spicer. In collaboration with Dr. John Pless of the Indiana University Medical Center in Indianapolis, the two would deduce much from the sum of thirty bone fragments recovered.  

The victim was estimated to be a white male, approximately 18 to 26 years of age, had shoulder-length reddish-brown hair, stood at an estimated 5’6” (168 cm) to 5’8” (172 cm), and was believed to have previously fractured his left femur. Stainless steel tooth caps were noted at teeth #19 and #30, along with amalgam restorations at #2, #3, and #12. Anthropologist consultation suggests that one of the restored teeth was applied backward. Several articles of clothing were also discovered at the scene, including a gray hooded sweatshirt, a pair of Levi brand jeans and a brown belt in a size 28”, gray/burgundy socks, and suede athletic shoes in a size 11 ½. Additionally, a zippo lighter with the name ‘ARLENE’ engraved onto it was found near the remains. Officials determined that the young man was the victim of a homicide and was deceased for approximately one to two years. Despite the numerous identifying characteristics, no missing person reports in the area fit the man’s description, nor did anyone claim to know the identity of John Doe.

Not long after this discovery, authorities linked the remains to a rash of murders in Indiana and Illinois, with many of the victims speculated to be hitchhikers, sex workers, and/or were members of the LGBTQ+ community. The murder series ended with the arrest of Larry Eyler, who was convicted for two counts of homicide and given a death sentence. But before Eyler’s execution date was slated to happen, he died from AIDS-related complications on March 6th, 1994. Two days after his death, his attorney, Kathleen Zellner, held a press conference which disclosed that Eyler had confessed to a further 19 murder victims, including the unidentified young man found in Jasper County over a decade earlier. Eyler described the man to an FBI sketch artist, who rendered a forensic image of how he may have appeared in life. 

Eyler recalled that on or around the weekend of November 20th, 1982; he met a hitchhiker, possibly a college student from a nearby university, of about 20 to 22 years old along Highway 41 close to what was believed to be Vincennes, Indiana. The two went through a fast-food establishment’s drive-thru, where Eyler ordered a coke that he mixed rum into. Once they left the drive-thru, Eyler began to drive north on the interstate with the hitchhiker, whom he offered beer and Placidyl. The young man accepted the offer, drinking several beers and taking two pills. By the time the pair had reached Jasper County, the hitchhiker was semiconscious, which Eyler used to his advantage. He propositioned the man to perform oral sex on him, which the hitchhiker blearily agreed to. The two parked the vehicle in an empty field and walked into a weeded area, where Eyler blindfolded, handcuffed, and bound the man’s feet. Once the young man was immobilized, Eyler pulled the hitchhiker’s pants below his hips, and repeatedly stabbed the man “in the front” with an eight-inch hunting knife. Once the person succumbed to his injuries, Eyler removed his binding tools and left the scene. 

Even after the unknown man’s discovery, the people of Jasper County honored the individual whom they never knew in life. Several years after John Doe’s initial discovery, Paul Ricker and his fellow first responders raised money to afford a gravestone for a plot of land in Sayler Makeever Cemetery in Rensselaer, Indiana.

From Bryan Worters: 

Though there has been a sizable amount of coverage on Eyler’s cases, most notably Gera-Lind Kolarik and Wayne Klatt’s book Freed to Kill, the case never quite reached the same levels of attention as the likes of other serial murderers, such as Ted Bundy or Richard Ramirez. It seemed as if Larry Eyler’s name had faded from the public consciousness of the Midwest, the victims pushed further towards the periphery. That same lack of public intrigue sparked my interest in the case, knowing that there were several men who had met such an excruciatingly brutal fate and remained unidentified left me verklempt, including the young man found in Jasper County, whom I call “Ellis”. 

Ellis’ case has changed hands over the years, but now resides in the company of the current coroners of Jasper County, Andy and Diana Boersma. The Boersmas have been looking to uncover the identity of the young man since they inherited the case over a decade ago. The husband-wife duo has gone to great lengths in order to identify the young man, from pushing for DNA extraction to be entered into the CODIS system, to maintaining contact with Kathleen Zellner for additional information. The utmost priority for the Boersmas is to have the man be returned to his family. The Redgrave Research team and I intend to aid them in bringing Ellis home to his loved ones.

To assist in the search for Ellis’ identity, Anthony Redgrave has rendered a new forensic image of Ellis based on photos of the skull, the description that Eyler had provided, and in consultation with anthropologist Dr. Samantha Blatt of Idaho State University.

Redgrave Research would like to thank DNA Solutions for the DNA extraction, HudsonAlpha Discovery for the whole-genome sequencing, and Kevin Lord of Saber Investigations for bioinformatics. We would also like to thank those who have been involved with Ellis’ case since his discovery, the Boersmas, Kathleen Zellner, and those who have continued to spend their time, effort, and dedication to honoring a young man who they never personally knew.

If you have any information relating to the identity of Ellis/Jasper County John Doe (1983), please contact Andy Boersma at 219-956-2220 or 219-863-3560. 

Immigration Update

Monday, December 14, 2020

As the risk of COVID-19 exposure increased, many US Embassy offices closed earlier this year. In response, DNA collections for beneficiaries were placed on hold. As we near the end of 2020, COVID-19 continues to negatively affect the immigration process. In addition to US Embassy locations remaining closed, storage shortages now appear to rapidly emerge in various countries. Back-logs of collection kits dating to February remain untouched in storage. Embassy locations report upwards of two thousand cases sitting in storage waiting for their office to reopen and/or DNA collection suspensions to end. At this time DNA Solutions is restricted from shipping DNA Collection kits to the countries listed below until further notice.

  • Pakistan
  • Philippines
  • Ecuador
  • Afghanistan
  • Nigeria
  • Bangladesh
  • Dominican Republic
  • Italy
  • Uganda
  • London
  • Jamaica
  • Ethiopia

To best serve our immigration clients, we have revamped our immigration process to accommodate for these changes. DNA Solutions can set up a collection for the petitioner in the US, but we must wait until the US Embassy re-opens before we can ship a collection kit for the beneficiary(s). During this waiting period, we provide the petitioner with a status letter and a copy of their payment receipt. They are encouraged to provide the USCIS Office handling their case a copy of this letter and receipt to confirm they have selected DNA testing as proof of relationship. The status letter will request that the deadline for DNA submission be extended, due to the suspension of DNA collection services at the US Embassy. Although we advise this letter does not guarantee an extension will be granted, we continue to have great success with this method.

Status letters are automatically provided for new cases where an embassy is closed with no storage capabilities and are available upon request for pending cases. 

For more information on immigration testing, contact DNA Solutions at (866) 362-9778 or dnas@dnasolutionsusa.com

Secondary Testing and Family Reconstruction

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Family Reconstruction DNA testing confirms relatedness through secondary relationships and is often used when an alleged father is not available. DNA Solutions offers secondary relationship testing through grandparentage, siblingship, and avuncular analysis. Obtaining conclusive DNA results can sometimes be difficult and results can fall anywhere between 0-100%. If your report shows a result between 0%-9.09% the relationship tested is not supported; however, a result of 90.9%-100% shows the relationship is supported.

If an inconclusive result is obtained between 9.09%-90.9%, additional relatives may be added to the original analysis to obtain conclusive results. DNA Solutions family reconstruction testing has evolved over the last 20 years and our laboratory is available to discuss the best option and which relatives to add to your case.

Family reconstruction tests are also helpful when determining a relationship degree greater than two generations, such as cousins or great grandparents. When faced with a case that seems too complicated, always call DNA Solutions first to see how our laboratory's Family Reconstruction software can assist you and your client.

DNA results for family reconstruction cases and large secondary relationship cases, will include a family pedigree on the report, indicating the exact relationship tested. Below are examples of such pedigrees. 

For more information on family reconstruction, contact DNA Solutions at (866) 362-9778 or dnas@dnasolutionsusa.com

Using Grandparents to Establish Paternity

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Grandparentage testing is a secondary-relationship test performed to determine:

  • biological relationships with a grandchild
  • parentage if an alleged father is unavailable for testing

To establish paternity, the child’s DNA is compared to the alleged father’s parents (paternal grandmother and/or grandfather). Our laboratory will use the paternal grandparents’ DNA to reconstruct the alleged father’s genetic profile and compare to the child’s DNA profile. Additional samples may be required to obtain a conclusive result for secondary-relationship tests. A sample from the mother of the child is strongly recommended for all relationship tests to improve the statistics and limit the possibility of additional testing.

Informational tests are for peace of mind and not court admissible. If a client needs a legal test for court admissibility, a legal guardian must be present to sign consent for any child under 18.

Results will be reported as supported, inconclusive, and not supported:

Supported - Results that fall in the range of 90-99.99% and provide enough statistical evidence to indicate that the missing alleged father cannot be excluded.

Inconclusive - Results that fall in the range of 10-89.99% and do not provide enough statistical evidence to confidently report that the missing alleged father is either excluded or cannot be excluded. At this time, we will recommend providing additional participants. Additional people that could be tested include known full siblings or paternal siblings such as aunts or uncles. This will help drive the statistical analysis towards conclusive results.

Not Supported - Results that fall in the range of 0.00-9.99% and provide enough statistical evidence to indicate that the missing alleged father is excluded.

For more information on grandparentage testing, contact DNA Solutions at 866-362-9778 or dnas@dnasolutionsusa.com.

Non-Standard Samples

Thursday, June 11, 2020

In addition to performing DNA testing on buccal swabs, DNA Solutions has 20 years of experience extracting DNA from non-standard samples.  While the most common non-standard samples include blood stains, hair, semen, and a toothbrush, our laboratory has successfully obtained DNA from multiple non-standard sample types. Testing on non-standard samples does take longer than the standard turnaround time of two business days. Please allow at least six business days for cases containing non-standard sample types. Please reference price sheets or contact DNA Solutions for a quote, as these items will accrue additional fees.

 

Non-Standard Samples

Additional Information

Blood & Blood Stains

Band Aids, Bandages, Bloody Tissues, FTA Blood Cards, and Whole Blood (purple tube top required)

Hair

Must be pulled with follicle attached for STR testing (15+ hairs)

If no follicle is attached, Mitochondrial testing may be an option

Sperm/Semen

If liquid semen, absorb suspected semen sample onto a clean buccal/cotton swab.  Air-dry the swab for 1 hour.

Toothbrush

Air-dry the toothbrush for 30-60 minutes

Dentures

 

Cigarette Butts

2-5 butts

Clothing

Hats, baseball caps, underwear, or bandana (items that could absorb bodily fluids)

Dental Floss

Do not touch the floss unprotected

Cotton Swabs/Q-tips

 

Ear Wax

 

Eating Utensils

Forks, cups, spoons- do not touch unprotected

Gum

Do not touch the gum unprotected. Sugar-free gum is preferred

Envelope

Must be licked, place in paper envelope to avoid contamination

Nails

Finger/Toe: nails trimmed close to nail beds work best

Pacifier

 

Razor

Please mark as sharp item

Toothpick

 

Used Tissue

 

Urine

If liquid, keep frozen and ship appropriately- If absorbed on an item, we are less likely to obtain DNA

Bones

 

Teeth

Better chance of obtaining profile if we can grind the tooth

Biopsy Samples

Acceptable in paraffin blocks

Drink Dispensers

Bottles, Cans, and Glasses

Watch Bands

 

Bullets

 

Gun Handles

Prior approval must be obtained before submitting a firearm. We are required to get advanced individual permission for each firearm received. Alternatively, individual components may be submitted for testing.

Body Tissue

1cm by 1cm at minimum

 

In 2020, DNA Solutions has performed testing on 61 non-standard samples.  Of those samples, only 8 items did not provide a full profile for testing.  That is an 86% success rate!   Although our laboratory cannot guarantee an item will provide a profile, we do use validated testing methods and trained analysist proficient in genetic testing. Our staff works diligently to obtain the most DNA possible. Our customer service representatives will communicate with you throughout the process.  Should the DNA test not produce a comparable profile, there is an opportunity to submit a replacement sample.  Clients are strongly encouraged to avoid shipping items overnight on Fridays, as the samples could degrade while sitting in a warehouse over the weekend.  Always package your items in paper and not plastic, as plastic can cause moisture and bacteria which can contaminate and/or destroy the DNA on the sample. Items such as urine, whole blood, or body tissue should be shipped overnight with icepacks or dry ice.  If you have questions regarding how to properly package and ship an item, please contact our facility at 866-362-9778.

COVID-19 Affects Immigration DNA Testing

Monday, May 18, 2020

US Embassy locations and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) offices have suspended routine-in-person services to help slow the spread of COVID-19. USCIS offices plan to reopen after June 4, 2020, unless the public closures extend further. All US Embassy locations will re-open independently at a time not yet determined.

USCIS offices continue to provide services that do not require face-to-face contact. If you have DNA paperwork from a US Embassy or USCIS location, you can initiate DNA Testing. Although the Embassy locations are not currently performing collections, they are strongly encouraging DNA laboratories to continue shipping DNA collection kits. The Embassy offices are placing kits into secure storage locations as they are received. Once the Embassies reopen for collections, they will schedule appointments based on the order they received the kits.

If you have a case in process with DNA Solutions, you may need to request an Extension letter. Most USCIS offices are requesting a letter issued directly by our facility to seek an extension on any deadline that might be affected by this suspension. Should your USCIS office mention the need for a letter, please inform our facility immediately. We can draft and submit a formal request for an extension due to COVID-19, within two business days of your request.

Please know, although DNA Solutions is offering this service, we cannot ensure that an extension to your deadline will be approved. This decision is made solely and directly by all Immigration offices and Consular Sections.

We extend our deepest apologies for any inconvenience this may cause. We understand these are difficult times and we promise to serve you and your family to the best of our ability.

If you have additional questions, please contact us at dnas@dnasolutionsusa.com or 866-362-9778.

Forensic Testing

Monday, March 30, 2020

DNA Solutions provides forensic testing for local and federal law enforcement, medical examiners, coroners, state and federal agencies, attorneys, private companies, and the general public.

Forensic testing is the identification of trace evidence including biological and non-biological samples often found at a crime scene or the scene of an accident.

Our laboratory is accredited to the FBI Quality Assurance Standard (QAS). This is a national (United States) recognition within the forensic science community for meeting FBI Director's Quality Assurance Standards. This accreditation ensures that the work performed by DNA Solutions is performed in accordance with the provisions of the Federal DNA Identification Act. Genetic results issued by our laboratory are pursuant to QAS standards and are eligible to be uploaded into the CODIS DNA Database, the FBI's program of support for criminal justice DNA databases.

Forensic DNA Applications:
  • Human Remains Testing
  • Criminal Casework Analysis
  • Sexual Assault Kit Analysis
  • DNA Mixture Analysis
  • Degraded DNA Analysis
  • Sample Biopsy Matching
  • Evidence Evaluation and Testing
  • Forensic Genealogy

DNA Solutions uses multiple technology platforms to match DNA workflows with crime labs across the United States. We quickly provide results needed for forensic casework.

Our laboratory frequently works with partner labs and drug and alcohol testing facilities to provide forensic DNA testing to your clients.

For more information on forensic testing, contact DNA Solutions at (866) 362-9778 or dnas@dnasolutionsusa.com.

Immigration Testing per American Association of Blood Banks (AABB)

Monday, November 18, 2019

The US Department of State may request immigration DNA testing to verify and establish a biological relationship in citizenship claims arising from birth abroad to a U.S. citizen, including:

  • father-child
  • mother-child
  • child and full brother or sister
  • child and half brother or sister
  • relationships between a child and a paternal aunt, uncle, or grandparent

DNA testing is the only biological testing method the State Department accepts to establish a biological relationship. Due to high costs, complexity, and logistical delays, genetic testing is generally used only in the absence of sufficient evidence (documentation, photos, etc.) establishing the biological relationship.

State Department Website and AABB Guidelines

The State Department's website on Consular Affairs explains DNA Testing for immigration, CRBA (Consular Report of Birth Abroad), and US Citizenship purposes. It explains when and why DNA testing is used for such purposes and outlines the process. This information is very similar to the handout provided to anyone considering DNA Testing for Immigration.

The State Department refers to the AABB guidelines restricting any third party from initiating the testing process, arranging appointments, choosing a laboratory for testing, and the requirement for all testing to be paid directly to the testing laboratory. Choosing not to following these guidelines can not only negatively affect the AABB testing laboratory or any corresponding collection facility, but can also result in the denial of the results. It is in the best interest of DNA Solutions, our partner sites, and all immigration tested parties, to work together to follow the requirements.

Exciting News! DNA Solutions has a $300 immigration case collection fee and a $150 US Citizenship case collection fee.

Direct Call to your Facility

If individual(s) call your location requesting an immigration DNA test, please inform them they must initiate the immigration testing process directly through an AABB accredited laboratory. The State Department office or US Embassy handling their case should provide a list of AABB laboratories the individual(s) can choose from. Please inform the individual you work directly with DNA Solutions and encourage them to call us to set up their case (866) 362-9778.

Following the call, please email dnas@dnasolutionsusa.com with the individual's name. If the individual calls and set up a case, we will contact you directly to schedule their collection. Once the collection is completed, please send an invoice to us for the collection fee. DNA Solutions will continue processing the case and provide excellent customer service and their results once their testing is completed.

Facility Walk-In

If a customer walks into your location, without an appointment, and asks for immigration testing, please call our office at (866) 362-9778. DNA Solutions will talk to the individual immediately and explain the process and test cost. If they move forward with the immigration test, collect the samples and invoice DNA Solutions directly for the collection fee.

If our office is closed due to after hours or the weekend and the tested parties cannot speak with us before being collected, please:

  • Proceed with the collection
  • Have the individual complete our immigration contact sheet, terms and conditions form, and a credit card authorization form
  • Provide a copy of their immigration paperwork at the time of collection

Once DNA Solutions receives the collection, required forms, immigration paperwork, and the Chain of Custody, photos/IDs, we will contact the petitioner to confirm their request to test with DNA Solutions. If the individual(s) proceed with the immigration test, DNA Solutions will pay the immigration collection fee; however, if they do not proceed, DNA Solutions will cancel the case and pay a $25 collection fee to cover your time spent performing the collection.

For more information on Immigration DNA testing, contact DNA Solutions at (866) 362-9778 or dnas@dnasolutionsusa.com.

Legal vs. Non Legal Testing

Friday, July 26, 2019

What is the difference between a legal and non-legal (self, informational or in-home) paternity test?

There are only a few, but significant differences between the two testing options.

  • Sample Collection - A legal case is supervised and the sample is collected by a trained individual with no interest in the outcome of the testing. A non-legal (self, informational, or in-home) paternity test can be performed by the individuals themselves.
  • Identity - In legal cases, identities are verified with government issued identification. In non-legal cases, identities are not verified and can be anonymous.
  • Signature Required - In legal cases, individuals will each sign a statement that gives permission for their sample to be tested. Minors must have a legal guardian sign the statement for them. In a non-legal case, no signature is required for testing.
  • Chain of Custody - In legal cases, the security of each sample is documented on a chain-of-custody that includes collector's signature, shipment information, and DNA Solutions signature. This is required for DNA results to be admissible in a court of law. In non-legal cases, chain of custody is not required and the results are generally not admissible in a court of law.

Legal and non-legal test results utilize the same high-quality technology and genetic markers. DNA Solutions maintains quality and care for your case whether you choose legal or non-legal tests.

The DNA test is based on the analysis of 22 human genetic markers. These tests include the FBI's panel of DNA markers used for human identification (CODIS) and have been thoroughly tested and validated. Each individual has two specific numbers (alleles) for each marker tested. A single number at a marker indicates the person has two copies of the same allele. The alleles are the same within each individual regardless of the DNA sample (i.e. blood, saliva, tissue, hair roots). These alleles vary between individuals (except identical twins). The determination of a given relationship is based on the number of shared alleles between the people tested. A child receives half of its DNA from the mother and half from the father; therefore, each biological parent shares one allele with the child at each marker.

The human population contains a limited number of possible alleles at each marker. The rate at which these alleles are repeated within a population provides a frequency that can be used to determine the likelihood that two people sharing a particular allele are related or if they share that allele by chance.

For more information on DNA testing, contact DNA Solutions at 866-362-9778 or dnas@dnasolutionsusa.com.