Carson City Sheriff’s Office identifies 2 missing people using genetic genealogy

Joyce Rogers

Joyce Rogers

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Carson City Sheriff’s Office has been embracing new advances in DNA technology, namely Forensic Genetic Genealogy (FGG) and over the past few years CCSO has been seeking resources to assist them in applying this revolutionary new tool.

The Carson City Sheriff’s Office is training its investigators to use DNA and genetic genealogy to solve cases, not just in recovered human remains, but to also identify suspects in homicides, sexual assaults, burglaries, and other crimes. This investigation highlights the cooperation between medical examiners, forensic laboratories, and genetic genealogists to quickly solve cases.

In mid-2022, the Carson City Sheriff’s Office partnered with Genetic Genealogy For Law Enforcement, to receive investigative training, so they could learn how to perform this work themselves starting with three other unresolved human remains cases using forensic genetic genealogy. This training was held at the Carson City Sheriff’s Office on Jan. 16-18,facilitated by Forensic Genetic Genealogist, and former police detective, Christine Burke, and attended by Nevada investigators and investigators from out of state.

Joyce A. Rogers

On March 17, 2015, partially decomposed human remains were discovered buried in shallow grave on Lone Mountain in Carson City. The human remains were determined to be an adult female about 40 to 70 years of age. An examination by the Washoe County Medical Examiner’s Office was not able to determine a cause of death.

The Carson City Sheriff’s Office partnered with The DNA DOE Project to develop a DNA profile from the remains and to perform genetic genealogy. The remains were identified as Joyce Rogers, a transient woman who was about 72 years old when she passed away in Carson City. The investigation also identified her husband, Edward Barton, a transient living in Fallon. Investigators located Edward Barton who admitted to burying Joyce on Lone Mountain after Joyce passed away from an illness. The case has been submitted to the Carson City District Attorney’s Office for review.

 Ronald V. Hendricks


 Ronald V. Hendricks

On Sept. 20, 2020, bicyclists riding on the Flume Trail at Marlette Lake discovered a human skull next to the trail. Carson City Sheriff’s Office Investigators, with the assistance of the Carson City Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue Unit, Dr. Mary Cablk and her human remains detection partner, K9 Inca, conducted multiple searches on the steep mountainside above the west side of Marlette Lake. Additional human remains were recovered.

The remains were sent to the Washoe County Medical Examiner’s Office for examination. The Washoe County Medical Examiners Office determined the remains had possibly been in the area for several years, but no cause of death was determined. A DNA profile was developed which identified the remains as male but there were no immediate matches in law enforcement DNA databases.

The Carson City Sheriff’s Office partnered with Intermountain Forensics in Salt Lake City to develop an extended DNA profile needed for genetic genealogy investigations. A DNA profile was obtained and uploaded to GEDmatch and Family Tree DNA databases (FTDNA).

Christine Burke assisted Investigators in the genetic genealogy investigation which identified Ronald Hendricks as the possible human remains. Investigators contacted siblings who uploaded their DNA profiles to FTDNA which confirmed the DNA match. 

In December 1992, Ronald Hendricks age 39 was reported missing and suicidal from San Francisco. Ronald’s vehicle was located at the Spooner Lake parking lot and he was last seen snowshoeing toward Spooner Lake. Despite searches in December of 1992 and July 1993 Ronald’s remains were not located. Ronald’s remains were located approximately 5.3 miles from where he was last seen in 1992.

The Carson City Sheriff’s Office thanks the Carson City Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue Unit, Dr. Mary Cablk and K9 Inca, The Washoe County Medical Examiner’s Office, BODE Laboratories, Intermountain Forensics, Family Tree DNA (FTDNA) and Christine Burke with Genetic Genealogy for Law Enforcement for their assistance in these investigations.


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