CCSO release – In Coos County Oregon, the Sheriff’s Office was able to put to rest a “cold-case” missing person report, identifying remains and giving closure to family members 50 years later. In 1971 Winston Arthur Maxey III left his home in Boise, Idaho at the age of 15 years old. After talking with a friend in Boise, Winston had learned there were job opportunities in Oregon and made a plan to hitchhike to the coast. He told his sister he was going to Coos Bay, and in the spring of 1971, 15 year old Winston left home. Family members reported they had never heard from Winston again, not knowing if he arrived in Oregon. In July of 1971, an unidentified deceased juvenile male was reported to the Coos County Sheriff’s Office in the Engelwood area of Snedden Creek in Coos Bay. Investigators tracked down all leads available at the time; canvassing the neighborhoods, asking the public for help and trying to build a timeline around the area and local events. Due to limited technology and the condition of the deceased, the state medical examiner was unable to determine the identity nor the cause of death. The deceased was buried in a local cemetery and listed as an unidentified male juvenile. The case remained open at the Sheriff’s Office, among several other cases that are periodically revisited when time, evidence or technology might allow for a breakthrough. In 2017, Captain Looney and the county Medical Examiner exhumed the remains in order to obtain a DNA sample. Using a grant from the Oregon State Medical Examiner’s Office, DNA was registered through the NAMUS database and analyzed by Parabon Nanolabs. In May of 2021, Parabon Nanolabs was able to provide a DNA profile of the unidentified male. While the profile didn’t provide an immediate name, it did give significant data including ancestry, eye, skin and hair color, face morphology and a composite profile. The profile was used to search through sources for missing persons, cold cases and ancestry sites. In July of 2021, Parabon Nanolabs provided a further report, able to identify the family and to identify a male from the Idaho area which matched the genealogy and ancestry history from the first profile. Before closing the case, investigators needed to verify the identity of the missing person. Winston, before leaving Idaho, had unknowingly fathered a child. That child was ultimately given up for adoption and grew up in Idaho. Upon turning 18, Winston’s daughter hired a private investigator to locate her biological parents. After learning of her biological parent’s names, she contacted her biological mother, learning her father’s name which had not been included on the birth certificate; Winston Arthur Maxey III. In 2016, Winston’s daughter began pursuing avenues of locating her father, not knowing whether or not he was alive, and having no knowledge of his potential location. She set up a Facebook page, “Where in the world is Winston Maxey”. She also filed an official missing person’s report and began working with local law enforcement officials. After identifying Winston through Parabon, Coos County Detectives began contacting family members, requesting a secondary DNA profile from his sister to positively confirm his identity. After submission of the biological sister’s DNA sample, Officials were able to confirm the identity of the 50 year old cold-case. Winston’s daughter finally had answers about her father, and an understanding at least of where he had gone. After exhaustive follow up and dogged determination, the Sheriff’s Office is working with the family to produce a death certificate and to return the remains to the family in Idaho.

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