DNA profiling used to identify remains of Penticton man missing since 2009 | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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DNA profiling used to identify remains of Penticton man missing since 2009

The remains of James Neufeld, a Penticton man missing since 2009, were recently identified by Washington State authorities.
November 30, 2020 - 10:32 AM

The remains of a Penticton man missing since 2009 have been positively identified eleven years after his disappearance.

The body of James Neufeld was discovered May 23, 2009 by U.S. officials in San Juan County, Washington State, according to an RCMP media release.

Neufeld disappeared after being last seen at his Penticton home on Jan. 21, 2009.

He was driving a green Plymouth Voyager van which was located under the Alexandria Bridge near the Fraser River on Feb. 3, 2009.

Neufeld's remains were later pulled from the waters of the Salish Sea off Parker Reef about a half mile north of Orcas Island in San Juan County, Washington.

Forensic and anthroplogic examiners were unable to identify the remains, in spite of efforts to trace a number on a metal plate to hospitals. They attempted to pull a DNA profile from the deceased and also tried to develop a sketch of what the man might have looked like.

It took another attempt to establish a DNA profile to solve Neufeld’s identity.

In September 2020, a second DNA profile proved successful and the B.C. Coroner’s Service and the Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s Officer were able to partner in identifying Neufeld’s remains.

The Snohomish County Medical Examiner's office is credited with taking a second look at the case, after examiner Jane Jorgensen realized DNA record keeping had improved over the years.

"The B.C. Coroners Special Investigations Unit, in working with our partners, both in B.C., and south of the border is pleased to have been able to help bring closure to the family, helping them get answers to questions they have been seeking for more than a decade," said Eric Petit, Director of the Special Investigations Unit of the B.C. Coroners Service.

The Southeast District of the B.C. RCMP employ a dedicated missing person coordinator who has oversight over all missing person investigations in the district, RCMP superintendent Carfantan says.

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