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Crash Victim Cold Case Solved After More than 44 years Using DNA

Deputy Medical Examiner Kathryn Dougherty and the DNA Doe Project use investigative genetic genealogy to identify a 1977 car crash victim as John Lindberg Scott

Delafield, WI – Deputy Medical Examiner Kathryn Dougherty refused to give up on John Doe Delafield 1977. Dougherty brought the case to the DNA Doe Project (DDP) in October, 2019. After a DNA sample was sequenced to produce a profile for upload to GEDmatch and FTDNA, the genealogists began their work in mid-2020 on what proved to be a difficult case. The DDP team was able to offer some initial direction, then continued to update Dougherty with potential surnames to provide her with leads. Dougherty zeroed in on Mr. Scott earlier this year and eventually located a marriage record that provided her a specific candidate. DNA from John Scott’s sister, Jean Nunn, confirmed the correct identity.

John Lindberg Scott, born May 6, 1950 was just 27 years old when he died in a single-vehicle car crash west of Delafield. At the time, he was being pursued by a Waukesha County Sheriff’s deputy for speeding. The car he was driving had been stolen from Gurnee, Illinois.

“John’s case has touched so many lives over the decades, and it is such a blessing to be able to finally give him his name back and offer his family some answers as to where he’s been all these years,” said Dougherty. “Words cannot express how honored I am to restore his rightful name to him and work on returning him to his sister, where he belongs.”

The DNA Doe Project wishes to thank the many dedicated law enforcement professionals, scientists and volunteers who helped solve this case, including the Waukesha County Sheriff’s Department and the Waukesha County Medical Examiner’s Office, and especially Deputy Medical Examiner Kathryn Dougherty. HudsonAlpha Discovery labs provided the whole genome sequencing and Kevin Lord of Saber Investigations performed the bioinformatics. We also extend our gratitude to GEDmatch and FamilyTreeDNA for providing their databases. Talented DDP volunteer genealogists and generous donors to this case, including audiochuck, made this identification possible.

About the DNA Doe Project

The DNA Doe Project, Inc. is an all-volunteer 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to identify John and Jane Does and return them to their families. The genealogy research is pro bono, but the organization relies on donations to fund lab costs when agencies cannot afford them. To date DDP has made over 70 identifications. Discover more at https://dnadoeproject.org/ .

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