Texas lab helps Winnebago County detectives identify John Doe after 6 years

The body found in Vinland in 2015 was identified as Roland Klug from Oshkosh
Published: Dec. 7, 2021 at 5:40 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 8, 2021 at 5:17 PM CST
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OSHKOSH, Wis. (WBAY) - The remains of a man found in Winnebago County in 2015 have finally been identified.

The Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office says remains found near a set of railroad tracks six-and-a-half years ago were Roland D. Klug, who was from Oshkosh and would have been about 65 years old at the time.

”It’s one of those where we thought, at some point, we should be able to reach a conclusion in this case because we have STR DNA, we have partial dental, eventually something is going to click with this. So it’s a relief from our perspective, but definitely the family has expressed that the closure that this is bringing them is huge,” says Lt. Chris Braman, a detective with the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office.

Klug’s remains were found on April 29, 2015, where railroad tracks cross County GG in Vinland. The sheriff’s office says a thorough investigation was unable to identify him at that time. And, he was never reported missing. According to Lt. Braman, “They (Klug’s family) thought he was alive, living down in the south, and it was not unusual for him to be gone for five years and then just show back up.”

Othram Inc. of Texas analyzed DNA from the remains to work up a genealogical profile to find possible links to a family tree.

According to Dr. Kristen Mittleman with Othram, ”Othram jumps in when most cases are sort of a DNA dead end and CODIS testing doesn’t work and hasn’t led to an identity and there’s just not much more that can be done.”

Othram Inc. uses a proprietary method, which it calls Forensic-Grade Genome Sequencing, to process forensic evidence. In this case, Othram created a DNA profile and then the search moved on to identify possible relatives. The sheriff’s office identified a possible link and contacted the family for DNA samples to make a comparison.

A similar technique was used to identify Fond du Lac County’s Jane Doe recently (see related story).

Klug was born in 1949 and originally from the Waupun area. He served in the Vietnam War.

The sheriff’s office says now that the remains have been identified and Klug’s family has closure their investigation is over. Lt. Braman adds, “This case is closed. We don’t believe that there’s any foul play involved and we’re happy with the conclusion of the case.”

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