Case reopened for John Doe found near Palisades Reservoir in 2001

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho — The Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office announced today, April 1, that they are partnering with Othram Laboratories to help identify human remains found in the Palisades area.

According to the Sheriff’s Office, In September of 2002, a man and his dog walking near Palisades Reservoir came upon what appeared to be part of a human skull. Bonneville County Sheriff’s Deputies responded and searched the surrounding area, recovering additional pieces of a tailbone, pelvic bone, and vertebrae. Pathologists examined the remains and concluded the partial skull most likely belonged to a male between 25 and 45 years of age. The remains were substantially weathered, suggesting they may have been in the reservoir for 15 to 20 years prior to their discovery. Further FBI DNA testing revealed the skull and pelvic bone pieces belonged to the same person.

Deputies researched past drowning cases from 1978 to 1998 where bodies had not been recovered, finding one incident in 1980 where four individuals drowned after their boat capsized about 100 yards from the shore. Two of those victims were 38-year-old men and the other two children ages 7 and 10. Although this accidental drowning has been a focus of the investigation, Deputies haven’t ruled out the remains belonging to victims of a separate crime or incident.

Now the Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office has partnered with Othram to use advanced DNA testing to establish an identification of, or to find the nearest kin to the decedent.

Othram Inc. has been assisting law enforcement across the country in analyzing evidence and helping investigators solve cases. The Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office hopes that partnering with Othram Inc. and asking for help from the community will provide the identifying information needed to determine what happened to this victim.

Anyone that may have information on this case or family ties to missing or unrecovered persons in the Palisades Reservoir area between 1978 and 2002 is asked to contact Sgt. Karl Noah with the Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office at 208-529-1375. More details about Othram Inc. and their research on this case can be found online.

About The Author

Buckrail @ Lindsay

Lindsay Vallen is a Community News Reporter covering a little bit of everything; with an interest in politics, wildlife, and amplifying community voices. Originally from the east coast, Lindsay has called Wilson, Wyoming home since 2017. In her free time, she enjoys snowboarding, hiking, cooking, and completing the Jackson Hole Daily crosswords.

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