In October 2021, a skeleton was discovered by a hiker in a remote desert area near Pioneer Drive and Laguna Road in Golden Valley, Arizona. Golden Valley is located in the Sacramento Valley about 10 miles from Kingman, Arizona in Mojave County. The Mojave County Sheriff’s Department rushed to the scene and confirmed that the body was human. The remains were transferred to the Mojave County Coroner’s Office for further investigation. The individual’s biological sex was determined to be male, but due to the condition of the remains, other identifying characteristics such as height, weight, and ethnicity could not be determined. In 2022, details of an unidentified person case were registered with the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) as his UP89640. There were few leads, and despite investigators’ efforts, the man could not be identified.
In March 2023, detectives from the Mojave County Sheriff’s Office Special Investigation Unit (SIU) requested assistance in identifying the unknown man as part of their ongoing collaboration with Osram. The remains were sent to Osram’s lab in Woodlands, Texas. Osram scientists developed a suitable DNA extract from the remains and used forensic-grade Genome Sequencing® to build a comprehensive DNA profile. Osram’s in-house genealogy team worked with the Mojave County Sheriff’s Office’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU) to generate new investigative leads in the case.
Subsequent investigations eventually identified the unidentified man. He has now been identified as 60-year-old Christopher Canning of Golden Valley, Arizona. Canning was reported missing by his family on May 15, 2021, five months before his body was found. Canning’s official cause of death is unknown. However, there is no suspicion of wrongdoing.
The costs associated with OSRAM’s testing were generously funded by Project Grace, a charity aimed at helping to clear the backlog of cases. Osram is grateful for the funding of this case and several other Mojave County cases that Osram recently worked on, including the background checks of Jordan Victor Carvalho and Brandon Ray Parlanti.