The Grays Harbor Sheriff’s Office have identified the man known only as “Lyle Stevik”.
In September of 2001, the Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Office investigated a death at a motel in Amanda Park. A man had checked into the hotel under the name of Lyle Stevik.
When the man was found dead and hanging in the closet of his room from an apparent suicide, the Sheriff’s Office began looking for his true identity, spending “countless hours over the years”.
In a statement, the Sheriff’s Office and the Grays Harbor County Coroner’s Office say that they were contacted earlier this year by Margaret Press and Colleen Fitzpatrick, co-founders of the non-profit DNA Doe Project.
Their group offered to fund the analysis of “Lyle’s” DNA with the hopes of identifying possible family members.
After the coroner’s office provided a DNA sample to the group, they say that about 20 volunteers worked hundreds of hours on “Lyle’s” identification since obtaining his DNA results on March 22.
The Sheriff’s Office says that the group stated that, in addition to the volunteers, they wanted to “express their heartfelt appreciation to all the many donors who contributed to the cost of the tests”.
This was the group’s first Doe Fund Me case and was funded in less than 24 hours with contributions from around the world. The group also wanted to thank all 900,000 plus people who have contributed their DNA results to the GEDmatch database. Without them this identification could never have been made.
Margaret Press stated to GHSO that;
“cases like these are heart-breaking. During those hundreds of hours there wasn’t one where we didn’t all think of the family he left behind. They are what kept us going”.
Through the work of the DNA Doe Project, the group was able to come up with a possible match of a man from California. Investigators with the Sheriff’s Office were able to contact possible family members and positively identify “Lyle” through fingerprints provided by the family.
The family believed that “Lyle” was still alive, just did not want to associate with family. Our victim was 25 years of age at the time of his death.
The family of “Lyle” has requested that his name not be released.
Online followers of the case have set up websites, social media groups, and messageboards to discuss possible evidence.
In a posting today, one group has offered to crowd-fund the relocation and funeral of the body to wherever his family would like him to be buried.
“I feel it’s only right, and I think it would be a great conclusion to our search.” said the OP
For more information on DNA Doe Project and the case, visit http://www.doenetwork.org/cases/233umwa.html