ARIZONA NEWS

Remains found in Arizona desert identified through genetic investigation

Aug 3, 2023, 12:00 PM

Human remains found two years ago in the desert in Golden Valley, Arizona, have been identified as ...

Human remains found two years ago in the desert in Golden Valley, Arizona, have been identified as Christopher Canning. (Mohave County Sheriff's Office and Creative Commons Photos)

(Mohave County Sheriff's Office and Creative Commons Photos)

PHOENIX – Human remains found in the desert in northwestern Arizona two years ago have been identified through a genetic genealogy investigation, authorities said Thursday.

The remains belong to Christopher Canning, 60, of Golden Valley, the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office announced.

An official cause of death could not be determined because of the state of the remains, but foul play isn’t suspected, the sheriff’s office said.

Canning was reported missing by a family member on May 15, 2021. A citizen found the remains in a remote desert wash Oct. 15 of that year.

Mohave County detectives worked with Othram Inc., a private laboratory that specializes in forensic genealogy, to identify Canning.

Othram performed DNA testing and forensic-grade genome sequencing on a sample of the remains and made the identification Monday.

Othram helps on multiple Mohave County cold cases

It was at least the fourth time this year that Othram helped Mohave County detectives identify human remains.

In January, the company cracked a 52-year-old cold case by helping identify a body found east of Kingman in 1971 as Colleen Audrey Rice.

In April, remains found in Golden Valley in January 2021 were identified as 56-year-old Brian Crain.

In July, a human skull found in Golden Valley in September 2022 was identified as 30-year-old Jordan Victor Carvalho.

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Remains found in Arizona desert identified through genetic investigation