On September 14, 1977, during the early morning hours, a Waukesha County Sheriff’s Department Deputy was pursuing a vehicle for speeding when the driver ran a stop sign, lost control, left the highway, and crashed. The driver was killed when he was ejected from the vehicle; he was the sole occupant. The incident occurred 7 ½ miles east of Delafield, Wisconsin. Investigators discovered the vehicle had been stolen from Gurnee, Illinois. During autopsy the forensic pathologist determined the deceased was a White / Caucasian male, 20-30 years old, 6 feet tall, 155 pounds, with brown hair cut military style. Items found in the vehicle contained the name “John”. Investigators were able to eliminate the vehicle’s owner, but could not determine if the name was actually the decedent’s name, an alias, or something unrelated to him.
NamUs ID: UP7632
Date Body Found: September 14, 1977
Estimated Age: 20-30
Estimated PMI: minutes
Location: Delafield, WI
Agency of Jurisdiction
Waukesha County Sheriff’s Department
Mike Toole, Detective
Links to More Information
Photo Credit: NCMEC
On November 18, 2021 Deputy Medical Examiner Kathryn Dougherty of the Waukesha County Medical Examiner’s Office and the DNA Doe Project (DDP) announced that investigative genetic genealogy was used to identify a 1977 car crash victim as John Lindberg Scott.
John Lindberg Scott, born May 6, 1950 was just 27 years old when he died in a single-vehicle car crash west of Delafield in 1977. At the time, he was being pursued by a Waukesha County Sheriff’s deputy for speeding. The car he was driving had been stolen from Gurnee, Illinois.
In October 2019 Deputy Medical Examiner Kathryn Dougherty brought the case of Delafield John Doe 1977 to the DDP. After a DNA sample was sequenced to produce a profile for upload to GEDmatch and FTDNA, the genealogists began their work in mid-2020 on what proved to be a difficult case. The DDP team was able to offer some initial direction, and then continued to update Dougherty with potential surnames to provide her with leads. Dougherty zeroed in on Mr. Scott earlier this year and eventually located a marriage record that provided her a specific candidate. DNA from John Scott’s sister, Jean Nunn, confirmed the correct identity.
“John’s case has touched so many lives over the decades, and it is such a blessing to be able to finally give him his name back and offer his family some answers as to where he’s been all these years,” said Dougherty. “Words cannot express how honored I am to restore his rightful name to him and work on returning him to his sister, where he belongs.”
The DNA Doe Project wishes to thank the many dedicated law enforcement professionals, scientists and volunteers who helped solve this case, including the Waukesha County Sheriff’s Department and the Waukesha County Medical Examiner’s Office, and especially Deputy Medical Examiner Kathryn Dougherty. HudsonAlpha Discovery labs provided the whole genome sequencing and Kevin Lord of Saber Investigations performed the bioinformatics. We also extend our gratitude to GEDmatch and FamilyTreeDNA for providing their databases. Talented DDP volunteer genealogists made this identification possible.
Our generous donors, including major donor audiochuck, fully funded the costs of this case.
Click here for more information about the search for the identity of Delafield John Doe 1977.
Last Updated: February 9, 2024