Smithsonian to assist in Rock County cold case

Analysis might determine where boy was from
Smithsonian to assist in Rock County cold case

The Rock County Coroner’s office is getting help from the Smithsonian in trying to solve a 19-year-old cold case.

The skeletal remains of a teenage boy were found in a wooded area near Turtle Creek in the town of Bradford in 1995. The boy is believed to have died in 1994.


A sample of bone from the body has been sent to a Smithsonian Museum Conservation Institute lab in Washington D.C. for an analysis that could determine where the boy grew up.

The process, called stable isotope analysis, can eliminate about 75 percent of North America when trying to determine where somebody spent their childhood years. It looks for chemical components in bone that come from the water a person drinks. That chemical makeup is matched with the chemical signature of drinking water in other areas of North America.

Results of the testing could be back by the end of summer.

The Rock County Coroner’s Office plans to distribute facial sketches in the area the body might be from in hopes of finding someone who might recognize the boy.

Investigators eliminated more than 59 potential matches to the body using DNA, dental records and other testing.
The Smithsonian is donating its services and facilities for the testing.