DENVER (KDVR) — The Denver Office of the Medical Examiner reports that it has averaged around one unidentified person per year since 1980. As FOX31 previously covered, many of these unidentified deceased individuals were believed to be experiencing a lack of access to a stable housing situation.

One such man was found near the South Platte River back in December of 1999. At the time, medical examiners speculated in their report that he was either Caucasian, Hispanic or Native American. They also observed the man to be over 35 years old and weighing only 105 pounds.

Unidentified man (Denver Medical Examiner)

Now, the Denver Public Health and Environment has announced a breakthrough in this case that could bring closure to the unidentified man’s loved ones after 23 years.

On Wednesday, DDPHE tweeted: “It took 23 years but our team at the Medical Examiner’s Office ID’d a man found dead in 1999. All they had was a clay representation of the man’s face. They used his DNA to ID a family member. We hope the family of Preston Christensen, 52, from Minn., finally has some closure.”

Of the unidentified person cases listed by the Medical Examiner’s Office, three of 18 cases dating back to 1970 have been closed with identifications being made. That leaves 15 open cases dating back to the same year.

For information on any of these open cases, call the Denver Office of the Medical Examiner at 720-337-7600.