Skeletal remains found in tangled fishing line by a duck hunter in Washington state in 1979 have finally been identified thanks to DNA testing 43 years later
- DNA testing identified the remains as belonging to 29-year-old Gary Lee Haynie
- Remains first found on January 3, 1979, near Spencer Island, south of Marysville
Skeletal remains found in a tangled fishing line by a duck hunter in Washington state in 1979 have finally been identified 43 years later.
The case went unsolved for decades until DNA testing revealed the remains belonged to 29-year-old Gary Lee Haynie, the Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s Office said.
The Everett Man’s remains were first found on January 3, 1979, on tidal flats near Spencer Island, south of Marysville.
At the time, Snohomish County deputies found no suspicious circumstances surrounding the remains, and the county’s medical examiner ruled the cause of death undetermined.
The remains were buried as a John Doe in Everett’s Cypress Lawn Cemetery, officials said.
The case went unsolved for decades until DNA testing revealed the remains belonged to 29-year-old Gary Lee Haynie (pictured as a child), according to the Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s Office.
The remains of the Everett man were first found on January 3, 1979, on mud flats near Spencer Island, south of Marysville.
The case went cold over the years, until Detective Jim Scharf of the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office cold case team and retired Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Ken Cowsert began re-investigating old unsolved murders in 2008 and matters of unidentified persons.
In July 2015, the remains were exhumed from the cemetery and handed over to the provincial medical examiner.
A forensic odontologist took dental X-rays and uploaded them to the National Crime Information Center database to see if the records matched missing persons.
However, no matches were shown.
The case was added to the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, a federal database.
In April 2016, a forensic artist made a facial reconstruction based on facial morphology, which showed what humans might have looked like.
An examination of the remains that month estimated they belonged to a white adult male between five and five feet tall and between the ages of 27 and 61.
In April 2016, a forensic artist made a facial reconstruction based on facial morphology, showing what humans might have looked like
In 2018, the right femur was extracted for DNA and added to the FBI’s combined DNA index system, officials said. However, no match was made in that system either.
Then, in 2021, an advanced DNA profile was created by Othram, a purpose-built lab that applies genome sequencing to forensics.
A DNA profile was created using forensic-grade genome sequencing and then added to genealogy databases. There were several matches through GEDmatch and FamilyTreeDNA, officials said.
One of the best matches was Haynie, who had been missing from Everett since the late 1970s, although “the circumstances of his disappearance are not known.”
DNA testing of his half-sister led investigators to confirm the remains belonged to Haynie.
A medical examiner officially identified the remains on February 10, 2023.
The medical examiner’s office says Haynie was born in Topeka, Kansas and traveled the world with his mother and adoptive father, who was in the Air Force.
He loved the Beatles and played the piano.
His parents are now both deceased and the circumstances of his disappearance are not yet known.