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Just Science Podcast: Just Identifying Lake Erie John Doe

NCJ Number
Date Published
December 2022

This final episode of the Case Studies: Part 2 mini season, the Just Science podcasters discuss a case involving a case in which the identity of a decedent from 2014 remains unknown.


In this podcast episode, the Just Science host invites Dr. Thomas Gilson, Dr. Harmeet Kaur, and Hristina Lekova of the Cuyahoga County, Ohio, Medical Examiner’s Office to discuss a John Doe case from 2014. The unidentified body found in Lake Erie has undergone techniques including fingerprinting, DNA matching, facial reconstruction, and more, in efforts to identify the body, with medical examiners and forensic scientists to working in close proximity. The guests discuss their roles in the case and how they typically go about resolving unidentified decedent cases; they also discuss the roles and routines of the Cuyahoga County medical examiner’s office and forensic science laboratory, and the fact that having autopsies performed in the same building can help with interdepartmental collaboration. Doctors Lekova and Gilson provide advice for agencies with unidentified remains cases, as well as those who are operating a laboratory out of a medical examiner’s office.

Date Published: December 1, 2022