On September 11, 1983 a deceased White/Caucasian male was discovered in a field near Baseline Road and South Central Avenue in Phoenix, Arizona. No identification was found on or near the body. The man was between 40 and 65 years old and appeared to be poorly nourished, weighing only about 100 pounds at approximately 5’9” tall. He had graying hair and a full beard and mustache. He was dressed in brown pants with a black belt and multicolored boxer shorts. Investigators speculate the man was a transient. He was identified as a homicide victim and had died shortly before being found.
NamUs ID: UP1902
Date Body Found: September 11, 1983
Race: White / Caucasian
Estimated Age: 40-65
Estimated PMI: Days
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Agency of Jurisdiction
Phoenix Police Department
Stuart Somershoe, Detective
Link to More Information
On November 5, 2021, almost thirty-eight years after the remains of a Caucasian male were discovered in a field near Baseline Road and South Central Avenue in Phoenix, Arizona, the Phoenix Police Department and the DNA Doe Project confirmed the identity of the man. At the request of the law enforcement agency, his name will not be announced.
After exhausting all other leads, the Phoenix Police Department contacted the DNA Doe Project (DDP) in March of 2021, hoping to resolve the man’s identity using investigative genetic genealogy. The Maricopa County Medical Examiner’s Office had exhumed John Doe’s body to extract DNA a decade earlier. DDP had this extract sent to HudsonAlpha Discovery for whole genome sequencing and then to Saber Investigations for bioinformatics. In June 2021, the DNA file was uploaded to GEDmatch.
Subsequently, the agency authorized the file to be uploaded to FamilyTreeDNA as well. Genealogists found a close cousin match to John Doe. By mid-July, the investigative genetic genealogical research produced a candidate, which was presented to the Phoenix Police Department for confirmation.
Team Leader Cairenn Binder stated, “We are honored to have played a part in giving Baseline John Doe his name back. Although a conviction was already brought in the case of John Doe’s homicide, Detective Stuart Somershoe was committed to ensuring that the victim was identified.”
The DNA Doe Project wishes to acknowledge the contributions of other groups and individuals who helped solve this case: the Phoenix Police Department and Detective Stuart Somershoe, who entrusted the case to the DNA Doe Project; Investigator Christen Eggers of the Maricopa County Medical Examiner’s Office who was the guiding force behind the exhumation and subsequent DNA testing; University of North Texas Center for Human Identification (UNTCHI) for extraction; HudsonAlpha Discovery for sequencing; Kevin Lord of Saber Investigations for bioinformatics; GEDmatch and Family Tree DNA for providing their databases; and DDP’s dedicated teams of volunteer investigative genetic genealogists who work tirelessly to bring victims home.
Image Credit: Stephen Missal
Last Updated: November 17, 2021