ROSEMOUNT, Minn. (WETM) – After almost eight years of searching for answers, law enforcement in Minnesota has identified the remains of a Cohocton, N.Y. man who was found dead in 2014, according to the local county government’s office.

James Everett from Cohocton was 48 years old at the time of his death. He was found dead in a decommissioned railroad utility shed in Rosemount, Minnesota in September 2014, according to the release. However, investigators found receipts and newspapers suggesting he had died in the fall of 2013.

Everett’s wife, Patricia Everett, said in a statement that James had left for a work trip in September 2013 but didn’t attend and left his house keys in their mailbox. He was reported missing, and a Montana State Trooper found him a few weeks later at a rest stop.

Patricia explained that her husband had told the trooper he had quit his job because of problems at work and was “just driving”.

“I thought he may have reinvented his life and was living elsewhere,” Patricia’s statement said, “until I was visited by a police officer at my home inquiring about Jim.”

Law enforcement didn’t find any wallet or ID to be able to identify James, so his DNA was submitted into a federal database between 2015 and 2016. The following year, after following hundreds of leads, the case grew cold and the community of Inver Grove Heights held a funeral for the still-unidentified “John Doe”.

The case picked up again in 2019 with a potential connection to New York after “hundreds of hours” of searching, the release said. Then, in the spring of 2022, the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office contacted Everett’s family and got the DNA to confirm his identity.

Patricia described her late husband as a computer geek, singer, guitar lover, and a fan of the Denver Broncos and Buffalo Sabres. He was also “an accomplished cook and baker with significant experience in both short order and fine dining throughout the city of Rochester, New York.”

“We, especially me, never gave up searching,” Patricia’s statement read. “Although this has not been the expected nor desired outcome in our search for him, we are all grateful and blessed to at least have this opportunity for closure, which many are not as fortunate to get.”

Officials in Minnesota didn’t specify when Everett was last in New York before his death. They also didn’t remark on his cause of death.

Numerous agencies, doctors, and law enforcement departments assisted the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office and Rosemount Police Department with the years-long investigation, including:

  • Beaverhead County Sheriff’s Office, Tennessee
  • DNA Doe Project
  • DNA Solutions
  • Ann Norlander, forensic dentist
  • John Filippi, forensic dentist
  • Family Tree DNA
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
  • Hamline University Anthropology Department
  • Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA)
  • National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs)
  • New York State Police
  • Parabon Nanolabs
  • University of Minnesota Genetics Department
  • Warren County Sheriff’s Office, Tennessee