Advances in DNA record-keeping have helped solve the cold case of a Penticton man who went missing in 2009.
In January 2009, Jim (James) Neufeld left his home in his 1997 green Plymouth Voyager. The van was found a couple weeks later under the Alexandria Bridge near the Fraser River, but Neufeld was never located.
Later in the spring, the remains of a dead man were pulled from the Salish Sea off of Parker Reef, about half a mile north of Orcas Island in Washington state’s San Juan County. Police where unable to come up with an identity.
In September of this year, the cold case was re-examined through a collaboration between the B.C. Coroners Service and the Snohomish County medical examiner’s office. Results linked the remains to Neufeld.
“At first, I was confident we would find his identity and family right away,” said Randall Gaylord, the San Juan County coroner.
Gaylord said his team was frustrated when the trail grew cold in 2009 but credited Jane Jorgensen of the Snohomish medical examiner’s office for suggesting the cold case be reopened with help from B.C. officials.
“Ms. Jorgensen recognized that DNA record-keeping has improved and it would be worthwhile to renew our search in Canada,” Gaylord said.
Eric Petit, director of the B.C. coroner’s special investigations unit, said Neufeld’s family have been notified.