SANTA ROSA (CBS SF) -- Using the latest in DNA technology, Sonoma County officials have identified human remains discovered near a walking path in Rohnert Park back in 2015 as those of a Seattle man.
The Sonoma County Sheriff's Department gave the remains the name '15 John Doe' after they were discovered on January 2, 2015.
On Thursday, the department announced DNA technology had positively identified the man as Stephen Patrick Archer, who was from Seattle and was 48 years old at the time of his death.
The Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety initially investigated his death as a non-traumatic, non-suspicious death. However, his cause of death and identity were unknown.
Despite exhausting coroner identification protocols, Archer remained unidentified for over six years. These protocols included DNA samples sent for Combined DNA Index System upload, dental charting through missing persons Sacramento, forensic anthropologic studies and countless hours canvassing the area and local homeless shelters.
In April 2018, the high-profile capture of the 'Golden State Killer' using genetic genealogy technology generated significant publicity. Like many other agencies, Sonoma County deputies were intrigued and started to explore the possibility for use in this case.
A DNA testing company developed a genetic profile for '15 John Doe.' Eventually, deputies learned of Margaret Press and her DNA Doe Project in Sebastopol. The DNA Doe Project has assisted numerous agencies in identifying unidentified deceased persons using forensic genealogy.
Once engaged, the DNA Doe Project made quick headway in the case and ultimately a DNA comparison through the Department of Justice was completed using his biological samples, which matched his biological mother. A positive ID was finally made.
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