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Smithsonian analysis could lead to identity of remains found in Rock Co. in 1995

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ROCK COUNTY (WKOW) -- The Smithsonian Institute is helping Rock County investigators work to identify the remains of a teenager found dead nearly 20 years ago.

John "Clinton" Doe, known as JCD, was found dead in 1995 on the bank of Turtle Creek near Clinton. Authorities were never able to determine who he was or how he died, but this year investigators are taking new steps.

Rock County Coroner's Office had an updated sketch drawn up of what JCD is believed to have looked like before his death. A previous sketch was made shortly after his remains were found, depicting an older man. Plus, investigators requested new DNA testing to get JCD's DNA in a nationwide database of unidentified remains.

Also earlier this year, Deputy Coroner Jack Friess reached out to the Smithsonian Museum Conservation Institute for help. Smithsonian researchers use Stable Isotope Analysis testing in their own work to learn more about archaeological remains, looking at regional oxygen patterns. 

"We focus on oxygen and we focus specifically on oxygen that is incorporated into bones and teeth from your drinking water, so we are basically reconstructing the water that a person was drinking," says Christine France, a Smithsonian physical scientist.

The Smithsonian takes on one or two cases every year from investigators working to identify remains and the process has helped lead to an identity in at least one instance. 

The coroner's office asked Dr. Thomas Haas with Mercy Hospital to help obtain a bone sample from JCD's femur to send to researchers.

"By studying this bone, they could pin down if not exactly where he came from, at least large areas where he didn't come from," says Haas.

France's report found JCD likely lived in Wisconsin, Minnesota or Michigan. This information will help authorities focus their ongoing search through missing persons cases.

"All of a sudden we started getting fire. Things started happening all at once, which gave the case some momentum," says Lou Smit, acting coroner in Rock County. "We started having some progress we to date have eliminated over 60 people who were near matches."

Officials have already started contacting law enforcement agencies with the information about JCD in hopes of finding a match. They ask anyone with information to call the coroner's office at (608) 757-5908.

John Clinton Doe is described as a white male between the ages of 15 and 17 at the time of his death, which is estimated to be in 1994. He was about 5'6" tall. The cause of his death is unknown. JCD had no broken bones or other signs of trauma, but authorities hope if they can find his identity, health records or other information may determine how he died.


ROCK COUNTY (WKOW) -- Results of a Smithsonian Institute analysis could help Rock County investigators identify the remains of a John Doe found nearly 20 years ago.

The Rock County Coroner's Office has received results of a Stable Isotope Analysis (SIA) test conducted in Washington, D.C. on remains of a teenager found on the bank of Turtle Creek near Clinton in November 1995. Scientific data of the teen's femur find the teen likely lived in Wisconsin, Minnesota or Michigan. This information will help authorities narrow their search for his identity.

Tonight on 27 News at 10, Jennifer Kliese talks with investigators about their two-decade search for John Doe's identity.
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