On January 11, 2015, the decomposed remains of a man were found in a shed in Mill Creek, Washington. It appeared as though the man, who is called Mill Creek Shed Man, had been living in the shed. He is thought to have died about a year before he was found, but it could have been longer.
The man appeared to be between 50 and 65 years old, about 5’11” (some reports state 5’9,” some state 6’1”), and African American. The pinky finger on his right hand was missing. Other findings were a “prominent sternal fissure, healed nasal fracture, lumbar scoliosis, and arthritis.”
No cause of death could be ascertained, and there were no signs of foul play. The following information is not confirmed, although it can be found online. There is “local lore” that states that our John Doe had permission to live in the shed from a man who once owned the property on which it was located. A man named Jerry Diggs/Deggs lived on the property where our John Doe was found, but there is no proof he and Mill Creek Shed Man are the same person. Jerry apparently gave his birth date as 12/31/1949. He claimed to be from the East Coast and to have worked as a security guard for a bank. He stated that he was struck in the head during a bank robbery and received a head injury.
Agency of Jurisdiction
Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s Office
Jane Jorgensen, Medicolegal Death Investigator
Links to More Information
On September 26, 2019 the DNA Doe Project (DDP) proudly announced the successful identification of Mill Creek Shed Man. His name is being withheld by officials at this time. Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s Office (SCMEO) confirmed the identity on September 2, 2019 by comparing the deceased DNA with DNA submitted by the man’s sister, whose name was provided by DDP on August 6, 2019.
DNA had been successfully extracted and underwent two rounds of sequencing, at which time DDP uploaded the results to GEDmatch. Extensive genealogical analysis followed, ultimately resulting in a strong candidate, which was referred to SCMEO. The cost of the second round of sequencing was covered through DDP Fund raising efforts.
A huge THANK YOU to everyone who participated in this tremendous effort to identify this man, particularly all on the DDP team and those who contributed to cover the lab fees. More information, including the deceased’s identity and story, if released, will be posted here when available.
Photo Credit: Natalie Murry