On August 16, 2019 excavators unearthed a pine box on a real estate development site on Rosewood trail in Hudson, Summit County, Ohio. The box contained partially fossilized, skeletal human remains. Examination by Mercyhurst University indicated the remains belong to a white male, 40-70 years old, and that he had been buried for at least 50 to 75 years, perhaps much longer. According to Dr. Lisa Kohler, Summit County Medical Examiner, the area is not a cemetery, but there are reports that people were buried on the property in the mid-1800s.
NamUs ID: None
Date Body Found: August 16, 2019
Estimated Age: Adult – 40-70
Estimated PMI: At least 50 to75 Years
Location: Hudson, OH
Agency of Jurisdiction
Hudson Police Department
Brian Kozel, Detective
On November 15, 2021 the DNA Doe Project (DDP), in conjunction with the Hudson (Ohio) Police Department, announced the identification of remains that had been discovered in 2019 during construction of a new home in Hudson, Ohio as Richard Bunts/Bunce. These are the oldest remains DDP volunteer genealogists have identified to date using investigative genetic genealogy.
Born in 1793, Richard Bunts/Bunce likely lived on the property where his remains were discovered. DDP researchers believe he died around 1852 in Hudson. Richard is listed in the 1850 census living with his wife Annie and numerous children, including a son Anson. On an 1856 map of Hudson there is a plot labeled “A. Bunce”; likely referring to Annie or their son Anson. By 1874 the land had been sold to a neighbor William Carter. This plot is in the approximate location where Richard was found, indicating he was probably buried on the family land.
After excavators unearthed the pine box containing the remains in August 2019, Brian Kozel, a detective with the HPD, contacted DNA Doe Project to assist in identifying the deceased. Dr. Lisa Kohler, Summit County Medical Examiner, had heard reports that people were buried on the property in the mid-1800s, but could find no records indicating who the deceased might be. Bone samples were sent for DNA extraction and sequencing in February 2020, and in early January 2021 genealogy research began.
Genealogists found multiple DNA matches that led back to branches of the Bunts/Bunce family. One of these is his third great-granddaughter. This type of relationship falls outside of the range that genetic genealogists normally see in their work (not many people have third great-grandparents to DNA test!), however the amount of DNA she shares with Richard is within the range of what one might expect for this relationship.
The DNA Doe Project wishes to acknowledge the contributions of the groups and individuals who helped solve this case: the Hudson Police Department and Sergeant Brian Kozel who entrusted the case to the DNA Doe Project; Astrea Labs for extraction; HudsonAlpha Discovery for sequencing; Kevin Lord of Saber Investigations for bioinformatics; GEDmatch for providing their database; and DDP’s dedicated teams of volunteer investigative genetic genealogists who work tirelessly to bring victims home.
Image Credit: Buckboard silhouette “Buckboard Carriage Horse, #370557″ courtesy of Marvl.io; Image compiled by Jack Friess, DNA Doe Project.”
Last Updated: November 17, 2021