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Sonoma County Sheriff's Office identifies John Doe found in 2001; investigation continues

PIX Now Afternoon Edition 4-24-2024
PIX Now Afternoon Edition 4-24-2024 07:41

The Sonoma County Sheriff's Office is asking the public for help after identifying a John Doe whose identity had been unknown since 2001.

A Sonoma County resident told the sheriff's office on Feb. 15, 2001, that they found a human skull on "motorcycle mountain," near Duncan Road in Monte Rio. The skull was handed over to deputies.

The sheriff's office then went to the reported area but were unable to find any other remains. For two decades, the only information the sheriff's office had was that the skull belonged to a white man, around 25 to 40 years old.

In 2022, the sheriff's office turned to the DNA Doe project, and the following year in March, a potential relative was found. The genetic genealogy testing ultimately led the sheriff's office to John Doe's brother and a DNA test comparing the two revealed the man's identity as Jeffrey Thomas Rupen.

Rupen was from North Carolina and was born in 1958. He was in New York City in the early '80s, where he had studied at Columbia University.

The sheriff's office said Rupen became estranged from his family at some point, and he came to California where he may have worked as a house painter.

Anyone with information about Rupen's life, or death, is asked to call the Cold Case Unit at 707-565-2727. 

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