When a man was found deceased in an overgrown shack in Mill Creek, Washington authorities were told he was a homeless New Yorker who had been given the opportunity to live on the property. His body was under a mattress with no ID and existing DNA leading to no matches in the CODIS database. Apparently, police had interacted with the man before, citing his name with three different spellings and birthdates. Although ultimately not far from the truth, the existing names weren’t enough to lead investigators to a conclusion.
Years later the DNA Doe Project picked up the case with help from genealogist Jenny Lecus. The project was able to find matches and track down relatives using GEDmatch and eventually identify him as Terry Deggs. Terry was born in Baltimore to a teenage mother and became the second of over a dozen siblings. In his youth, his foster mom’s last name was Deggs. Genetic genealogy made it possible for Terry Deggs’ family to find closure years after his disappearance.