Remains of Cohocton man found in 2014 in Minnesota identified through DNA

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ROSEMOUNT, Minn. (WETM) – After nearly eight years of searching for answers, Minnesota law enforcement has identified the remains of a Cohocton, NY man who was found dead in 2014, according to the local government office of the county.

James Everett of Cohocton was 48 at the time of his death. He was found dead in a disused railroad shed in Rosemount, Minnesota in September 2014, the statement said. However, investigators found receipts and journals suggesting he died in the fall of 2013.

Everett’s wife, Patricia Everett, said in a statement that James left for a work trip in September 2013 but did not show up and left his house keys in their mailbox. He was reported missing and a Montana state trooper found him a few weeks later at a rest stop.

Patricia explained that her husband had told the policeman that he had quit his job due to problems at work and that he “just drove”.

“I thought maybe he had reinvented his life and was living somewhere else,” Patricia said, “until a policeman visited me at my house to ask about Jim.”

Law enforcement did not find any wallets or identification that could identify James. His DNA was therefore submitted to a federal database between 2015 and 2016. The following year, after following hundreds of leads, the case cooled and the community of Inver Grove Heights held a funeral for the still unidentified “John Doe”.

The case resumed in 2019 with a potential New York connection after “hundreds of hours” of research, the statement said. Then, in the spring of 2022, the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office contacted Everett’s family and obtained DNA to confirm his identity.

Patricia described her late husband as a computer enthusiast, singer, guitar lover, and Denver Broncos and Buffalo Sabres fan. He was also “an accomplished cook and baker with significant experience in both quick ordering and fine dining throughout the city of Rochester, New York.”

“We, especially me, never stopped looking,” read Patricia’s statement. “While this was not the expected or desired outcome in our search for him, we are all grateful and blessed to at least have this opportunity for closure, which many are not fortunate enough to have.”

Minnesota officials did not say when Everett was last in New York before his death. They also did not comment on the cause of his death.

Numerous agencies, doctors and law enforcement agencies assisted the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office and the Rosemount Police Department with the years-long investigation, including:

  • Beaverhead County Sheriff’s Office, Tennessee
  • Doe DNA Project
  • DNA Solutions
  • Ann Norlander, forensic dentist
  • John Filippi, forensic dentist
  • family tree DNA
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
  • Hamline University Department of Anthropology
  • Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Arrest (BCA)
  • National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs)
  • New York State Police
  • Parabon Nanolabs
  • University of Minnesota Genetics Department
  • Warren County Sheriff’s Office, Tennessee
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