New Jersey college students identify body to solve 13-year-old Arizona cold case

Feb 7, 2024, 4:05 AM | Updated: 11:04 am

Split image of a Yavapai County Sheriff's Office vehicle on the left and a Ramapo College sweatshir...

Student’s from the Ramapo College investigative genetic genealogy certificate program identified a body found in northern Arizona, in 2011, the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office announced Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2024. (Facebook Photos/ Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office and Ramapo College of New Jersey)

(Facebook Photos/ Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office and Ramapo College of New Jersey)

PHOENIX – New Jersey college forensic genealogy students solved an Arizona cold case by identifying a body found nearly 13 years ago in Yavapai County, authorities announced Tuesday.

David Emil Jacobsen is the man found dead in the Beaver Creek area in August 2011, according to the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office.

He had no identification when his body was located, and years passed without matches through missing persons and fingerprint databases.

Who identified body found in northern Arizona in 2011?

It took a team of college students from the East Coast to crack the case.

Ramapo College approached YCSO in early 2023 about unsolved cases that could be reviewed by the Mahwah, New Jersey, school’s investigative genetic genealogy certificate program.

The college selected the Arizona John Doe as one of its cases and successfully identified Jacobsen at no cost to YCSO.

The Yavapai County Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed the students’ work through mitochondrial DNA comparison and determined that Jacobsen died of natural causes from heart complications.

“YCSO appreciates the efforts of Ramapo College and their students’ diligent work in this endeavor. We hope to partner with them on other cases in the future,” the law enforcement agency said in a press release.

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New Jersey college students identify body to solve 13-year-old Arizona cold case