Home News Two Sets of Human Remains Identified in Franklin County One Over 30...

Two Sets of Human Remains Identified in Franklin County One Over 30 Years Ago


(COLUMBUS, Ohio) — Two sets of human remains that have long defied identification – one for 30 years, the other for 17 – now have their names back, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost and Franklin County Coroner Nathaniel Overmire announced today.

“We work cold cases because everyone counts and everyone deserves justice,” Yost said. “Each time we crack a cold case, the emotions of empathy and anticipation are bittersweet.”

Identifying and returning those loved ones to their families is a responsibility of county coroners. In these cases, the Franklin County Coroner’s office requested the assistance of the attorney general’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation.“The grief journey of each family looks different,” said Dr. Overmire. “These families have had to learn to live with the loss of a loved one and to heal from the loss with questions unanswered. While they may never be the same after such a loss, I hope this news might bring them a sense of closure.”

The cases highlight the collaboration and tenacity of investigators, who applied the best available technology over the years until the remains were finally identified.

1992 Franklin County John Doe – Chow Chan On Sept. 20, 1992, the body of an unidentified Asian male was found along Big Darby Creek in the vicinity of the 7000 block of Lockbourne Road in Franklin County. The cause of death was determined to be a gunshot wound to the head. At the time, DNA technology was in its infancy and a 1993 attempt to obtain a profile was unsuccessful.

In 2000, the Franklin County Coroner’s Office submitted remains of the John Doe to BCI, who successfully developed a DNA profile, but the case grew cold. Analysts with BCI’s Criminal Intelligence Unit digitized the coroner’s records in 2019 and the records from the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office in 2022.

A comparison of the records led to the discovery of a set of parents, who resided in Queens, New York, who had submitted DNA in 1993 to be compared to the John Doe. Since the initial attempt to develop a DNA was unsuccessful, a comparison was never conducted. During this time, attempts to identify the individual using fingerprints also were unsuccessful.

In January 2023, BCI contacted detectives with the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office to obtain a DNA profile from the mother who had sought comparison in 1993. In February, BCI’s DNA laboratory issued a report stating that the DNA profile of the John Doe was consistent with that of a biological child of the mother. The John Doe was positively identified as Chow Chan and the family was notified.

The case remains an unsolved homicide investigated by the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office. Anyone with information about the case is encouraged to call Detective John Thompson at 614-525-3352.2006 Franklin County John Doe – Randy RainesOn March 30, 2006, the body of a white male was found in the Scioto River in Franklin County. The cause of death was undetermined. DNA was submitted to BCI’s Project LINK (Linking Individuals Not Known) and compared to known DNA samples of missing persons. A search through CODIS (Combined DNA Index System) was completed but did not identify the individual. In 2019, analysts with BCI’s Criminal Intelligence Unit digitized the case file and reviewed what evidence was available for future testing. In 2020, palm prints from the Columbus Police Department’s crime lab archive were submitted to BCI for potential comparison, without success.

In 2022, the Franklin County Coroner’s Office enlisted the help of the DNA Doe Project, a non-profit initiative that uses investigative genetic genealogy to identify human remains. The organization uses crowd-funding to cover the cost of advanced DNA extraction and genealogy work. Over the next several months, additional testing occurred and a potential identity was developed.

In March 2023, a sample from the John Doe’s brother was collected for DNA analysis and BCI completed a successful comparison, identifying the unknown individual as Randy Raines.Resources for Families and Law EnforcementThe Franklin County Coroner’s Office’s website includes a database of unidentified persons, which includes six cases dating from 1989 to 2022. Anyone with information about the cases are encouraged to contact the Investigations Section of the Coroner’s Office at 614-525-5290.BCI’s Criminal Intelligence Unit maintains a database of unidentified human remains across the state. BCI provides numerous resources to law enforcement and family members of missing persons by administering Project LINK, creating forensic facial reconstructions and age-progression images, and by providing investigative assistance to local law enforcement upon request.

Law enforcement officers or family members of missing persons interested in learning more about the services provided by BCI’s Missing Persons Unit should call 855-BCI-OHIO (855-224-6446).