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Monroe County detectives test skull found in 2004

Lake Lemon

Lake Lemon summer 2021 (Joey Mendolia WFIU/WTIU)

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office is hoping to solve a homicide that occurred 18 years ago using modern DNA data.

The sheriff’s office is contracting a genetic genealogy lab to identify the skull with two bullet holes found near Lake Lemon in 2004.

“Skeletal remains of an unknown male were found in a remote area of Monroe County,” detective Alex Hahn said. “Not only are these remains unidentified, but they also show evidence of a homicide.”

Hahn said the sheriff’s office exhausted its resources with missing person reports.

“This is really the last option, the last hope to identify this male and solve this,” he said.

Genetic genealogy includes scrapping open-source DNA databases such as 23andMe.

“This is a fairly new investigatory process that compares the submitted DNA to open-source DNA profiles throughout the country,” Hahn said. “Using this method, an unknown DNA profile can be linked to a known DNA profile of a family member.” 

The Monroe County Council and board of commissioners both approved $5,700 for the service with Othram lab Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively. 

“This is an interesting way to pursue justice and also to help his friends and family who are out there somewhere,” commissioner Julie Thomas said.

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