In August 2020, a utility maintenance worker found the fully-clothed skeletal remains of an unknown man in an area behind Holmes Avenue in Jackson.
The man was wearing a dark colored jacket, khaki pants, and white Jordan tennis shoes. He was lying face down in the woods when he was found.
At the time, Hinds County Coroner Sharon Grisham-Stewart referred the case to the State Medical Examiner’s Office for a postmortem examination, anthropological and odonatological evaluations, and scientific identification. None of the usual approaches to identifying skeletal remains were successful.
In working to identify the remains, Mississippi State Crime Lab partnered with Othram Inc., a private DNA laboratory that specializes in a method called parallel sequencing to process forensic evidence. They were instrumental in the recent identification of Escatawpa Jane Doe, who was believed to be one of the earlier victims of reknowned serial killer Samuel Little.
Crime lab professionals sent the remains to Othram so they could generate a comprehensive genealogical profile for the unknown man, in hopes that it would help identify him or a close family member. This profile was used to search for distant relatives of the deceased person.
In the course of genealogical research, candidate family members came forward and provided reference DNA samples for comparison. Othram used specialized testing to evaluate the relationship between the candidate family members and the unknown man. In September 2021, following the completion of DNA testing and a follow up investigation, the Mississippi State Crime lab confirmed that unknown man was Anderson Bolls of Jackson.
Bolls had been listed as a missing person on the website MissingSippi.org since early 2020.
Carla Davis, a genealogist and Mississippi native, for fully funding the analyses required to obtain this positive identification. According to Othram, Davis has supported several of their cases.