Body identified 4 decades after being found in California's Muir Woods

Marin County authorities have positively identified the body of a man who was found in the Muir Woods National Monument over four decades ago.

In a press release issued by the Marin County Sheriff's Department, the decedent was identified as San Francisco resident Sigvard Svensson.

Authorities said that the skeletal remains of the then unidentified individual were discovered near the Deer Park Fire Trail in Marin County, California within the Golden Gate National Recreation Area in November of 1982. Responding investigators 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. The body was found was wearing a white collared shirt, gray socks, and a pair of size 11.5 white tennis shoes. Authorities were unable to identify the man, who became known as Marin County John DOE 82-278.

Just over six years ago in April of 2018, details of the case were entered into the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs), but despite extensive efforts by law enforcement investigators to identify the man, no matches were found and the case remained unsolved due to a lack of viable leads.

Two years ago, the Marin County Sheriff's Office partnered with the California Department of Justice's Jan Bashinski Lab and Othram Forensics to develop a genetic profile to aid in the identification of John DOE 82-278. Othram scientists successfully developed a DNA extract from the forensic evidence and developed a comprehensive DNA profile of the unknown man. 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. The investigation led to the positive identification of Svensson, who was born February 4th, 1908. Svensson immigrated to the United States in 1926, arriving in New York from Sweden, eventually relocating to 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," the statement said. "Additionally, we offer our sincerest condolences to his family and friends."

U.S. surgeon general declares gun violence a public health crisis

Julian Assange pleads guilty to publishing U.S. secrets

What to know about Biden and Trump's debate prep