Testing gives clues in John Doe case

Smithsonian tests show teen spent much of his life in region
Testing gives clues in John Doe case
The dark red indicates the most likely area where the teen spent considerable time when growing up.

Scientific testing has helped investigators in Rock County narrow in on the identity of the teenage boy whose skeletal remains were found near Turtle Creek in 1995. The boy is believed to have died in 1994.

The Smithsonian assisted the Rock County Coroner’s office by conducting what’s called stable isotope analysis on a piece of bone fragment from the remains. The testing looks for chemical components in bone that come from the water a person drinks. That chemical makeup is matched with the chemical signature of drinking water in other areas of North America to help identify where the boy was from.

The fragment was sent to Washington D.C. for testing in May.

The test results show the boy was most likely from Wisconsin, Minnesota or Michigan.

Officials said the results validate suspicions that the teen is from the area or the region.

Lou Smit, Rock County Acting Coroner said the results were open new areas of investigation into the teen’s identity.

Investigators eliminated more than 59 potential matches to the body using DNA, dental records and other testing.

The Smithsonian donated its services and facilities for the testing.