JACKSON COUNTY, Colo. (TCD) — Using forensic investigative genetic genealogy and other advancements in DNA technology, officials have identified a homicide victim whose remains were located on a remote road near the Wyoming border in 1987.
The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office announced Monday, Nov. 6, that investigators identified the victim as 24-year-old Jerry Mikkelson.
On Aug. 8, 1983, Mikkelson’s family reported him missing after he left his Sioux Falls, South Dakota, home, according to the sheriff’s office. Officials determined that Mikkelson possibly spent time in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Olathe, Kansas; and Wyoming and Colorado.
At the time of his disappearance, the sheriff’s office said Mikkelson was about 5-foot-9 and approximately 160 pounds. Mikkelson had brown eyes and brown wavy hair.
Several years later, on Oct. 18, 1987, investigators found Mikkelson’s remains on a forest service road 15 miles north of Walden, Colorado, and 5 miles from the Wyoming border. The sheriff’s office observed a tag on his vest that had the initials “L.B.L.” Using soil samples from the victim’s hair, the sheriff’s office determined someone had killed Mikkelson in Wyoming and dumped his body in Colorado.
Despite investigators’ efforts, the case went cold.
Nearly 36 years later, on June 28, 2023, the sheriff’s office exhumed the victim’s remains, gathered new DNA samples, and found a surgical titanium rod in the right femur. Mikkelson’s family told officials he had the titanium rod placed after he broke his femur six years before his death, according to the sheriff’s office.
The investigation is ongoing, and the sheriff’s office has asked anyone with information about the case to contact their department.
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