IMF joins the Coconino County Sheriff's Office in announcing that, as a result of an exhaustive investigation and collaboration, the body of David Clark Wilkinson has been identified. A subsequent homicide investigation has begun to ascertain the circumstances of his death.
David's body was found on October 3, 2020 in a shallow grave north of Flagstaff, near the Lava Caves off Highway 180. Unfortunately, due to the advanced stages of decomposition, the body could not be identified initially.
Coordinated efforts by the Sheriff's Office Criminal Investigators and the Coconino County Medical Examiner's Office determined that the person had been a victim of homicide. As part of the ongoing investigation, a DNA sample was sent to Intermountain Forensics in May 2021.
After rigorous laboratory processing using the Forenseq Kintelligence kit by Verogen (now a Qiagen company), our team at Intermountain Forensics, with the assistance of the Cold Case Coalition's team of volunteer forensic investigative genetic genealogists, was able to narrow the source of the DNA sample down to a particular family in January 2023. Within this family, an individual named David Clark Wilkinson was identified. David was known to frequent the Phoenix and Prescott areas in 2019 and 2020.
The investigation remains active, and the Coconino County Sheriff's Office seeks the public's assistance in shedding light on this case. David Clark Wilkinson, a 56-year-old white male in 2020, stood approximately 5'11" tall and weighed around 165 lbs. He had graying hair, a graying beard, and wore glasses. During the summer of 2020, Wilkinson may have been accompanied by one or two dogs and could have been operating a white 1997 Toyota Paseo resembling the vehicle depicted below.
It is believed that Wilkinson was camping in the Prescott National Forest and the Coconino National Forest during that period and may have interacted with other campers in those areas. Anyone who possesses information relevant to this investigation or had any contact with David Clark Wilkinson in the spring or summer of 2020 is urged to reach out to the Coconino County Sheriff's Office.
Contact: CCSO PIO, Jon Paxton
We, the dedicated team at Intermountain Forensics, are deeply honored to have played a crucial role in this investigation. Our heartfelt condolences go out to David's family and friends as his identity is finally restored. We remain committed to pursuing a successful investigation and hope that the dedicated investigators of the Coconino County Sheriff's office will bring his killer to justice.
This case marks our laboratory's first successful identification utilizing the Forenseq Kintelligence assay in our laboratory. We continue to utilize any technology available to us to help bring resolutions for our law enforcement partners and the families touched by these cases.