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1982 Muir Woods National Monument John DOE Cold Case – Identity Confirmed

The decedent has been positively identified as:  Sigvard Svensson from San Francisco, CA.

In November 1982, the skeletal remains of an unidentified individual were discovered in the Muir Woods National Monument, near the Deer Park Fire Trail in Marin County, California within the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Investigators responded to the scene and determined the remains were that of a male, who was approximately 5’8” tall and likely between the ages of 60 and 70 years old. At the time of the man’s discovery, he was wearing a white collared shirt, gray socks, and a pair of size 11.5 white tennis shoes. The man could not be identified and became known as Marin County John DOE 82-278.

In April 2018, details of the case were entered into the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) as UP17746. Despite extensive efforts by law enforcement investigators to identify the man, no matches were found, and the case went cold due to a lack of viable leads.

In 2022, the Marin County Sheriff's Office working in collaboration with the CA Department of Justice (DOJ) Jan Bashinski DNA Lab partnered with Othram Forensics to develop a genetic profile to aid in the identification of John DOE. The California DOJ submitted forensic evidence to Othram in The Woodlands, Texas. Othram scientists successfully developed a DNA extract from the forensic evidence and developed a comprehensive DNA profile of the unknown man. Othram's casework costs for the case were provided by the Roads to Justice (RTJ) program. Othram’s in-house forensic genetic genealogy team then used this profile to conduct genealogy research, ultimately providing new investigative leads to law enforcement.

Using this new information, a follow-up investigation was conducted leading Coroner investigators to potential relatives of the man. Reference DNA samples were collected from a potential relative and compared to the DNA profile of the unknown man. This investigation led to the positive identification of the man, who is now known to be Sigvard Svensson, born February 4th, 1908. Mr. Svensson immigrated to the United States in 1926, arriving in New York from Sweden, with a final destination of San Francisco.

The Marin County Sheriff’s Office Coroner Division wishes to publicly express our sincerest appreciation to the CA DOJ and Othram for their tireless efforts and assistance with this case leading to the positive identification of Mr. Svensson. Additionally, we offer our sincerest condolences to his family and friends.


Roger G. Fielding

Chief Deputy Coroner