Samantha Blatt

Samantha Blatt

Idaho State University announced an identification has been made “with high confidence” for a John Doe whose remains were discovered in 1979 in Clark County in East Idaho.

The conclusion was made by DNA Doe Project volunteers trained as forensic genealogists, and they were assisted by Idaho State University anthropologist Samantha Blatt and former ISU faculty member Amy Michael, according to Wednesday’s Idaho State University press release.

Law enforcement has to provide secondary confirmation before the name and details of the life of the formerly unknown figure are released to the public.

Research for the cold case is ongoing by ISU assistant professor Blatt, University of New Hampshire lecturer Michael as well as DNA Doe Project members Anthony and Lee Redgrave.

In 1979, the headless torso of the man was found buried in a cave. Additional partially mummified remains were found by a young girl exploring the cave with her family in 1991.

The entire body was never obtained, but what was found was stored at ISU.

The DNA Doe Project had qualified volunteers trained as forensic genealogists to attempt to identify the person.

DNA Doe Project is a non-profit volunteer initiative that utilizes genetic genealogy to identify John and Jane Does. The initiative’s website says it is the “go-to organization for law enforcement agencies and medical examiners across the country, helping them solve their most intractable cases.”

The project works with laboratories and bioinformatics experts to generate data based on degraded DNA of John and Jane Doe cases, and it is matched with data on and FamilyTreeDNA as a part of the process of identification.

If you would like to learn more about DNA Doe Project cases or make a tax-deductible donation either to a general fund or a specific case, visit