The year was 2002, and a hotel in Nogales, Edward C. checked into a room. He presented his I.D. to the person at the front desk and it said he was from Saint Petersburg, Florida.
It was a long way away from Arizona.
But on September 8, 2002, the hotel manager found him dead.
And to a lot of peoples surprise.his name.wasnt Edward C.; it was Donald Hadland Jr.
Carienn Binder, the director of the investigative genetic genealogy certificate program at Ramapo College of New Jersey, along with students at the college started studying the case back in February.
They partnered with the D.N.A Doe Project and the Pima County Office of the Medical Examiner.
However, the case was a tough one because this John Doe had gone by two names.
The fingerprint match came back to Mister Hadland, but because of the conflicting accounts and the conflicting information, that wasnt enough to make an ID, Binder said.
So they used a blood sample from the body and used Gedmatch PRO, a program that matches DNA.
The students also started building Hadlands family tree.
The matches that we saw to Mr. Hadland in the database were pretty close. Enough that we could quickly figure out that his identity was that of Mr. Hadland, Binder said.
They gave the authorities their findings and they compared it to a close family members DNA.
Thats what caused a breakthrough in the case. This John Doe was confirmed to be Hadland.
While Binder and her students might be done with this case, their work isnt over. They will be continuing to take on cases from Arizona.
For them, the real satisfaction is the lasting impact they had in cracking the case.
Weve got more cases in Pima County, more cases in Arizona that were working on. Were looking forward to the next identification, Binder said.