Experts to help ID DeLand remains

Mystery frustrates Volusia County investigators


DeLAND, Fla. – Volusia County sheriff's investigators say identifying the victim who was left dumped in a wooded area in a garbage bag in March is proving more difficult that they first anticipated.

"This is a very unusual case for us," said Volusia County sheriff's spokesman Gary Davidson. "It's very much a mystery."

He said it's a frustrating mystery.

Six months have passed since John Jarvis found the human remains. They were inside a black garbage bag and wrapped in a pink bathrobe, curtains and a homemade Mickey Mouse print bed sheet. Jarvis said he thought those clues might lead to an identity.

"It's kind of surprising," Jarvis said. "You know the way technology is. On TV, they solve it in 30 minutes, but that's TV."

In this real-life mystery, extracting DNA from bones isn't easy and it isn't fast. Investigators said they need that DNA to find out if the victim was male or female.

Jarvis said the skull he found was small, so the DNA will also help determine if it was a child or adult.

Since investigators don't have the tools in Volusia County, they've sent samples all the way to the University of North Texas' Center for Human Identification, where they hope researchers can help find them answers.

The little information investigators do know has been uploaded to a national database, so investigators throughout the nation who may have a missing person can compare the details.

Volusia County is seconded to Orange County in the number of unsolved "unidentified remains" cases in Central Florida.

Brevard County has 11 cases, Flagler County has four, Lake and Marion counties have 12 unsolved cases, Osceola has four cases, Seminole County has five cases and Sumter County has three unsolved cases. Orange County has 44 cases, according to The National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, which is run by the U.S. Department of Justice. Volusia County has 21 unsolved cases.

"We want to solve each and every case," said Davidson. "We don't like these mysteries that don't have answers, so we're going to work hard to solve this one."

There's no way of telling when the labs may have answers since they're being used for the same process by agencies across the country.

Investigators in Volusia County are left waiting, and so is the victim's family.

Search the national database to see if you have information that could help some of these open investigations.

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