MESA COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — The Mesa County Coroner’s Office says skeletal remains found in 2019 have been identified as a man who has been missing since 1997.
In Dec. of 2019, a hunting guide discovered skeletal remains at an overlook in Gateway.
The coroner’s office and Othram, a DNA laboratory, partnered to identify the remains.
“Skeletal evidence was sent to Othram’s lab in The Woodlands, Texas, where Othram’s forensic scientists developed a DNA extract and used Forensic-Grade Genome Sequencing® to build a comprehensive DNA profile for the unknown man. Othram’s in-house genealogy team used forensic genetic genealogy to produce investigative leads that were returned to Mesa County Coroner’s Office investigators,” Othram said.
Who were the remains identified as?
The skeletal remains were identified as Larry Dean Watts. Watts was last seen with his brother in Grand Junction on June 16, 1997, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation said.
Watts was 48 years old at the time of his disappearance.
Watts’ cause of death has not been released. If you have any information about this investigation, please contact the coroner’s office at 970-244-1898.
Highlighting cold cases in Colorado
There are hundreds of unsolved homicide cases, long-term missing person cases, and unidentified remains cases in Colorado where at least three years have passed since the crime happened.
The Colorado cold case task force created a list of those cases dating back to 1970. The Problem Solvers are working to highlight cold cases in our state.
Here are some of the other cases we’ve highlighted:
- Cold case: Who killed this 10-year-old boy in 1991?
- Cold case: Who murdered Stephanie Bauman 42 years ago?
- Cold case: Who murdered Jennifer Larsen 27 years ago?
- Cold case: Who shot David Williams to death in 2005?
- Cold case: Who murdered Maggie Long 1,651 days ago?
- Cold case: What happened to Elizabeth Miller 40 years ago?
- Cold case: Who kidnapped Christopher Abeyta 35 years ago?
- Cold case: Who killed JonBenét Ramsey 25 years ago?
- Cold case: Who killed Jessica Bejarano 15 years ago
- Cold case: Where is Terri Ackerman?
- Cold case: Who killed Richard Elliott at a grocery store 23 years ago?
- ‘Don’t ever give up hope’: Cold case: Who killed Edward Steinbach?
- Cold Case: Who killed Denise Davenport 37 years ago?
- Cold case: Who murdered James O’Neal Johnson 23 years ago?
- Cold case: Where is Jennifer Lynn Marcum?
- Cold case: Who murdered Daniel Lell in Aurora in 2013?
- Missing: Highlighting the search for people missing in Colorado
- 18 people remain unidentified in Denver since 1970
If you ever have a cold case you would like us to feature, please fill out this form or send an email to email@example.com-
The National Missing and Unidentified Persons System shows there are more than 20,000 open missing persons cases in the United States and over 300 in Colorado.