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Philanthropists to fund DNA testing of body found at Lake Mead

Updated May 5, 2022 - 9:13 am

A group of local philanthropists who helped helped solve several homicide cases through DNA last year has offered to help the Metropolitan Police Department identify the man found stuffed in a barrel at Lake Mead National Recreational Area.

Las Vegas resident and philanthropist Justin Woo said the Las Vegas Justice League has donated $5,000, which Othram Inc. will use to test the remains.

“The DNA processing takes a couple weeks and then there’s the research part where Metro is doing the genealogy research,” Woo said, noting that investigators would have to find a DNA match to identify the man.

The man’s body was discovered Sunday afternoon near Hemenway Harbor inside a barrel. Police suspect the man died sometime in the middle to late 1970s or early '80s based on his clothes and shoes.

Police said he died from a gunshot wound, although the Clark County coroner’s office has not officially ruled on his cause and manner of death.

The Justice League is currently funding six other DNA cases for Metro and one Henderson case through Othram, Woo said.

Last year, Othram set a world record for the least amount of DNA used to solve a case when it identified a suspect in the slaying of 14-year-old Stephanie Isaacson, who was killed in 1989.

The Justice League also funded Othram’s work last year in identifying the man suspected of killing two other cold case victims, Diana Hanson and Kim Bryant.

Contact Sabrina Schnur at sschnur@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0278. Follow @sabrina_schnur on Twitter.

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