Case closed, man who committed suicide identified 17 years later

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Over the past few years, we have heard from various people asking about the status of this case, and we are happy to bring closure in this updated press release sent out by Chief Criminal Deputy Steve Shumate of the Grays Harbor County Sheriffs Office. 

In September of 2001, the Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Office started an investigation into the identity of a man who committed suicide in Amanda Park, Washington.  The man had checked into a motel using the fictitious name of Lyle Stevik.  Investigators spent countless hours over the years attempting to identify the deceased man.

Earlier this year, the Sheriff’s Office and the Grays Harbor County Coroner’s Office were contacted by Margaret Press and Colleen Fitzpatrick, co-founders of the non-profit DNA Doe Project.  This group offered to fund the analysis of “Lyle’s” DNA with the hopes of identifying possible family members.  The coroner’s office provide a DNA sample to this group.  Through their organization, about 20 volunteers worked hundreds of hours on “Lyle’s” identification since obtaining his DNA results on March 22.  

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Aside from the hard-working volunteers, the group’s organizers wanted to express their heartfelt appreciation to all the many donors who contributed to the cost of the tests. This was the group’s first Doe Fund Me case and was funded in less than 24 hours with contributions from around the world. The group also wanted to thank all 900,000 plus people who have contributed their DNA results to the GEDmatch database. Without them this identification could never have been made.

In speaking with Margaret Press, she stated that “cases like these are heart-breaking. During those hundreds of hours there wasn’t one where we didn’t all think of the family he left behind. They are what kept us going”. 

Through the work of the DNA Doe Project, the group was able to come up with a possible match of a man from California.  Associated with this possible match were names of relatives.  Investigators with the Sheriff’s Office were able to contact these possible family members and eventually able to positively identify “Lyle” through fingerprints provided by the family.  The family believed that “Lyle” was still alive, just did not want to associate with family.  Our victim was 25 years of age at the time of his death.

As a matter of practice, the Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Office does not provide the names of individuals who have committed suicide.  And the family of “Lyle” has also requested that his name not be released.

We are thankful for all involved who helped finally solve this 16 ½ year mystery.   

Below is the link to the unidentified Doe network case.  Attached is more information on DNA Doe Project.

http://www.doenetwork.org/cases/233umwa.html

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