Victim of grisly 2016 homicide identified by genetic genealogy

Peoria, IL28 January 2020 – Working with the Peoria County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO), the DNA Doe Project (DDP) has identified the remains recovered from two separate locations on the Illinois River in November 2016 and June 2017 as John H. Frisch, Jr. Mr. Frisch had addresses in Peoria, Illinois and Hawaii.

DNA comparison linked a torso recovered in Schuyler County and a skull in Kingston Mines to the same individual. Forensic examination revealed death by blunt force trauma. Extensive records research by both Peoria County investigators and the Illinois State Police failed to provide an identity for the remains.

Det. Lee Hoffman of PCSO contacted DDP in February 2019 for assistance in identifying their John Doe. In late October DDP was able to upload his DNA profile to GEDmatch. The early matches in that database were so distant the team decided to submit the data to another genetic database, Family Tree DNA, which provided some closer familial matches. Although the case required approximately 86 hours for DDP’s genetic genealogists to solve, by December 27, 2019 they contacted PCSO with a likely candidate. Based on the probable identify provided by DDP, Peoria County Coroner Jamie Harwood, using dental records from Hawaii, confirmed the remains were those of John H. Frisch, Jr. PCSO continues to pursue the case as an active homicide investigation.

DDP wishes to acknowledge the contributions of those groups and individuals who helped solve this case: Peoria County Sheriff Brian Asbell, Det. Lee Hoffman, and Lt. Daniel Corpus, who entrusted the case to DDP; Peoria County Coroner Jamie Harwood and his staff; GEDmatch and Family Tree DNA for providing their databases; and, of course, the DNA Doe Project’s talented team of volunteers.

“We are all working towards the goal of reuniting victims with their families,” said Dr. Margaret Press, co-founder of the DNA Doe Project. “With the use of genetic genealogy, we are able to help law enforcement agencies and medical examiners identify John and Jane Does.”

About the DNA Doe Project

The DNA Doe Project, Inc. is an all-volunteer 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to identify John and Jane Does and return them to their families. The genealogy research is pro bono, but it relies on donations to fund lab costs when agencies cannot afford them. To date DDP has made over two dozen confirmed identifications. Discover more at .