A body that was found in a rural area of Harvard a year and a half ago has been identified through genealogy testing as a 50-year-old Ingleside man.
The McHenry County Conservation Police and McHenry County Coroner’s Office responded on May 4, 2019, to a remote area of the Rush Creek Conservation Area in Harvard for a death investigation.
The remains were an unidentified white male who was estimated to have been between 50 and 70 years old. He had short grey hair, facial hair, weighed 224 pounds and was 5-foot-10.
A thorough investigation was conducted over the last 18 months by the McHenry County Coroner’s Office, McHenry County Sheriff’s Office, McHenry County Conservation District Police Department, University of Illinois Chicago and Dr. Michael Colvard.
The McHenry County Coroner’s Office said that a variety of investigative methods were exhausted in an attempt to identify the man.
Submissions and searches of a variety of private, federal, state and local databases were performed without any matches.
Additional forensic testing was conducted in November 2019 following a lack of leads from traditional methods, the coroner’s office said.
Short Tandem Repeat and mtDNA DNA profiles were submitted to the University of North Texas, who then submitted it to additional databases without any matches.
The coroner’s office then coordinated with the Palm Beach County, Florida Sheriff’s Office in January to create a digital facial reconstruction of what the man might have looked like prior to his death.
The image was released to a variety of law enforcement agencies, media sources, social and private outlets throughout Illinois and Wisconsin.
Over 60 potential leads were developed, researched, and investigated by the coroner’s office. All were determined not to be a match.
Dr. Michael Colvard with the University of Illinois School of Dentistry in Chicago and Lake County Coroner Dr. Howard Cooper performed an additional dental analysis, which gathered additional data, yet no matches were able to be found still.
The coroner’s office collaborated with Othram Inc. in late June to conduct genealogy testing and analysis. Additional leads were developed in early October as a result of the genealogy testing and possible relatives of the man were identified.
Interviews and DNA testing of the relatives were performed. DNA analysis revealed that the unidentified man was confirmed to be a sibling of the identified possible relatives.
The “John Doe” was officially identified as Darrell P. Splett, 50, of Ingleside, the coroner’s office said, adding that the man’s death was not suspicious and the case has been closed.
Splett will be returned to his family so final arrangements can be made at a funeral home of their choosing.