Forensic investigators still working to ID “Doe 12”

The L.A. County Medical Examiner/Coroner's Office logo
The L.A. County Medical Examiner/Coroner's Office logo


After six months of scrutinizing human remains found in a hilly rugged stretch of terrain near Templin, forensic scientists are no closer to determining who they belong to.

In fact, a check Friday with forensic investigators at the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner revealed they still don’t know if the remains are male or female.

The human remains of unidentified men are referred to as John Doe, for women as Jane Doe.  Remains for which the gender is unknown are referred to as “Doe.”

In this, the remains are called – “Doe 12” – meaning the remains of at least 11 other people – as yet unidentified – have been found in Los Angeles County so far this year.

In late April, surveyors found what they thought were human remains and phoned the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department sparking a search by both homicide detectives and investigators with the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Department.

Before the week was out, investigators had gathered a human adult skull and some teeth.

On Friday, a forensic worker with the coroner’s office told The Signal: “We’re still working on the case and right now it is undetermined.”

Asked if having teeth attached to the skull helped in her identification efforts, she said: “It doesn’t do any good if we don’t have a person to compare it to.”

Ed Winter, spokesman for the coroner’s office, told The Signal Friday: “We’ve sent out samples of DNA (for testing).”

Investigators remain hopeful that dental evidence will provide valuable insight into who the human remains belong to.

“The Special Operations Recovery team of the coroner’s department collected the skull and teeth and they’re going back to the coroner’s office with them,” Sgt. William Cotter of the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department’s told The Signal in May, noting it might be “months” before dental forensic work can point to a victim.

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