DNA technology identifies human remains found in Montana as missing Bothell man

Remains that were found in Montana in 2003 have been identified as a missing Bothell man. 

The Flathead County Sheriff’s Office announced on Monday that DNA technology helped positively identify the remains as Steven Edward Gooch. 

Gooch’s family last heard from him in 1995 when he was 29 years old, and according to family members, he was in San Diego and was possibly headed to Las Vegas. 

In 1996, they reported Gooch missing after not hearing from him. 

On Oct. 26, 2003, remains were found in the area of Redgate Road in Marion, Montana. 

The Sheriff’s Office said the DNA Doe Project, a non-profit organization made up of volunteers who help law enforcement with investigative genetic genealogy to solve cases of unidentified remains, had spent three years on the case. 

A man had contacted the sheriff’s office about their son that left the Bothell area in 1995 and his family hadn’t heard from him since. 

The DNA Doe Project compared the man’s DNA to the DNA of the unidentified man’s profile and confirmed that they were the man's son, according to the Sheriff’s Office. 

"Our sincere condolences go out to the family during this time, and we hope that this identification will help bring closure to them," the Sheriff’s Office said. "We also hope to be able to provide more answers about the last days of Steven Gooch’s life."

The Flathead County Sheriff’s Office is still investigating. Anyone with information is asked to call the department’s detectives division at 406-758-5600 or email tip@flatheda.mt.gov

"We would like to acknowledge and thank the volunteers at the DNA Doe Project for the countless hours they worked to make this identification," the sheriff’s office said.

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