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DHSS Press Release

Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Pager 302-357-7498
Email: jill.fredel@delaware.gov

Date: March 1, 2014


WILMINGTON (March 1, 2014) - The Delaware Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME), working in conjunction with the City of Newark Police Department established positive identification of remains found Friday evening in a heavily wooded area of Newark as those of John E. Dohms of Newark, who has been missing since Sept. 13, 2012. The Medical Examiner's Office staff was able to make the identification through forensic comparison of dental records and the decedent's remains.

Members of the Medical Examiner's staff worked overnight to finalize the identification and were assisted by Richard M. Scanlon, DMD, National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) Regional Forensic Odontologist and consultant to the office. OCME Deputy Director Hal G. Brown said that a forensic medical legal death investigator with human remains excavation expertise was summoned from the Medical Examiner's southern office in Georgetown to oversee the continuing site excavation and search on Saturday.

Brown praised Newark Police for establishing a secure scene and having supplied generators on-site for the work in the wooded area Friday night, as well as having a command post that was used to perform preliminary examination of the remains.

The cause and manner of death for Mr. Dohms, a retired University of Delaware professor, is pending a forensic anthropology examination scheduled for Sunday morning.

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.