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Identity of 1980 Nye County shooting victim determined through DNA

Updated February 29, 2024 - 7:01 pm

A man shot to death on a dirt road in northern Nye County more than 43 years ago has been identified through advanced DNA testing.

An investigation into the October 1980 death of Albert Matas remains ongoing.

The then unidentified man was shot several times on a dirt road about a mile east of U.S. 95 and 60 miles south of Tonopah, according to Nye County Sheriff’s Office detectives, who initially investigated, and the Nevada Highway Patrol.

“The Nevada State Police Investigation Division conducted several interviews and made several attempts to further the investigation and identify the unknown homicide victim through fingerprints, dental records, press releases, and evidentiary items located at the scene,” a Nevada State Police news release stated. “Nevertheless, no significant leads were established. As DNA technology evolved, a mitochondrial DNA profile for the unknown homicide victim was obtained and entered into the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs).”

In March of 2022, the FBI, Nevada State Police and (NamUs) received the help of Othram, a company specializing in forensic genealogy, to perform advanced forensic DNA testing of the remains of the homicide victim and a genealogy search.

His identity remained unknown until his remains were positively identified in December of 2023 as Matas of Commerce, California. Further investigation revealed that his family had lost all contact with him in September of 1978.

Anyone with information on the case is asked to contact the Nevada State Police’s Investigation Division at 775-684-7456.

Contact Marvin Clemons at mclemons@reviewjournal.com.

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