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Remains of U.S. Marine recovered in 1951 Identified as Captain Everett Leland Yager

Intermountain Forensics (IMF) joins our partners, the Ramapo College Investigative Genetic Genealogy Center, the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office, and the Yavapai County Medical Examiner in bringing closure to a decades-old mystery surrounding partial remains recovered in Arizona by a child who wanted to build a rock collection. This collected rock was soon discovered to be, in reality, a human jawbone, which spurred the investigation forward.

In January 2023, the investigators sought assistance from the Ramapo College Investigative Genetic Genealogy Center. Samples were then sent to our laboratory, and IMF employed precision forensic techniques: advanced whole-genome sequencing and bioinformatics to generate a genetic profile from the sample. Ramapo's team was able to use this profile to identify U.S. Marine Corps Captain Everett Leland Yager.

The story of Captain Yager is well-known; he tragically lost his life in a military training exercise over the Riverside County, California area in July 1951 and was buried in Palmyra, Missouri. How this portion of his remains found their way to the Arizona desert is a mystery that is likely never to be understood. However, we are honored to assist in this investigation and reunite these remains with his family and final resting place.

More information regarding this case can be found here:

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