Alameda County, California
|Status||Identified on May 8, 2018|
September 16, 2001 (aged 25)|
Amanda Park, Washington
|Cause of death||Suicide by hanging|
|Body discovered||September 17, 2001|
|Resting place||Fern Hill Cemetery, Aberdeen, Washington|
|Known for||Former unidentified decedent|
|Height||5 ft 10 in (1.78 m) - 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)|
|Weight||140 lb (64 kg)|
Lyle Stevik was the alias used by a formerly unidentified man who, in 2001, committed suicide by hanging in an Amanda Park, Washington motel. The man was seen alive prior to his death, including at the hotel where he died. He had checked into his room as Lyle Stevik, possibly using a name based on the name of a character from Joyce Carol Oates' novel You Must Remember This (1987). On May 8, 2018, it was announced that "Lyle" was identified after almost 17 years with assistance from a non-profit organization called the DNA Doe Project. The man was 25 years old when he died, and had previously resided in California. His relatives requested for his identity to be withheld.
Stevik checked into the Quinault Inn, a motel in Amanda Park, after arriving to the area by bus. The clerk stated that the man might possibly have been Canadian, as he was described as speaking in a similar accent. When registering for his room, he wrote the alias and the address of a different hotel, a Best Western establishment in Meridian, Idaho. The hotel was located, but none of the staff members recognized the deceased.
He was also seen walking back and forth at the side of a highway near the motel, but it is uncertain if it was before or after he paid for his room. He requested and received a second room after complaining about noise from outside.
He may have used the name of a character from the novel You Must Remember This, authored by Joyce Carol Oates. In the story, the character who bore the same name, though spelled as "Stevick", tried to commit suicide.
His family was unaware of his suicide, assuming he was living a life elsewhere and did not want to speak to them. Due to the estrangement, no missing person reports appeared to match the decedent.
He checked into the motel on Friday, September 14, and his body was found on Monday, September 17, despite an initial report stating that he only stayed there for two days. He had used his belt to hang himself inside of a closet. The belt was secured by the bar used to hang clothes. He initially had paid for one night and had then left money to pay for the remaining nights. He then left a note reading, simply, "suicide". Upon discovery of the body, it was noted that the man had closed the blinds in the room and lined the closet in which he hanged himself with pillows. He had left a note at the bedside table that contained $160 in $20 bills with the words "for the room". It has been speculated that he may have committed suicide due to depression, or to quicken the pace of a fatal disease, although the autopsy showed there were no signs of one.
It was also possible that the man was native to a non-English speaking country. An investigator stated that it appeared as if the man was "seeing if he could spell" the word "suicide", as a piece of paper was located in a trash bin. He had no luggage; all he had with him was a toothbrush and toothpaste. He wore a blue shirt in a plaid design, a gray T-shirt underneath, blue jeans, and black boots. He paid at the desk for one night's lodging, but stated that he planned to stay for "a few more days".
Stevik was light-skinned but was thought to possibly have been of Native American or Hispanic heritage, as he had black hair and green/hazel eyes. It has also been stated by the local coroner's office that he may have been of an African admixture. Examination of his DNA concluded he was at least a quarter Native American and one-quarter Hispanic or Spanish. He did have some dental work done in his life, as his teeth showed evidence of previous treatment with braces. He had an old scar from a removed appendix. A mole was noted on his chin, along with the fact that he had attached earlobes. The examination also indicated that he had lost a large amount of weight, up to 40 pounds (18 kg). This was estimated after the examiner noted that the size of the man's jeans were fairly large in comparison to his body. His age was estimated to be between 20 and 30 years old, placing an estimated birth date from 1971 to 1981. He may have been up to 35 years old, however, which would increase this estimation to as early as 1966.
He was later buried in an unmarked grave at the Fern Hill Cemetery in Aberdeen, Washington.
Because Stevik was deceased for only a short time before his body was found, his fingerprints, dental characteristics, and DNA were easy for examiners to obtain. These identifying markers were placed in international databases, including CODIS, but no matches were made. It is believed that he came to the area from Port Angeles or Aberdeen, locations from which buses traveled to Amanda Park the same day. He was not, however, recognized by either of the bus drivers. Two men who were missing at time, Alexander Craig and Steven Needham, were ruled out as possible identities of Stevik.
In April 2007, Stevik was listed as the profile of the month for "Missing from the Circle", a public service initiative launched by Lamar Associates, a law enforcement advisory organization based in Washington, D.C., to help solve cases involving missing or unidentified Native Americans.
In 2018, two genetic genealogists from the "DNA Doe Project", Colleen M. Fitzpatrick and Margaret Press, uploaded DNA profiles to GEDmatch to link the unidentified man to individuals living in New Mexico and Idaho.
It was announced by the Grays Harbor Sheriff's Office on May 8, 2018, that Lyle Stevik had been identified through DNA analysis and comparison with genetic relatives performed by the "DNA Doe Project". He was from Alameda County, California and was 25 years old at the time of death. The Grays Harbor County Sheriff's Office notified the man's family, who had believed him to be alive and assumed the man did not want to associate with his family. His family had a set of his fingerprints that were taken in grade school, as part of a children's identification program. The Sheriff's Department compared those prints with the postmortem prints taken in 2001, and made a positive identification. His family has chosen not to identify him publicly.
- Edge, Sami (8 May 2018). "Dead man found in Washington state, who had ties to N.M., ID'd through DNA". The Santa Fe New Mexican. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
- Dube Dwilson, Stephanie. "Lyle Stevik: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know". Heavy. Heavy, Inc. Retrieved 8 May 2018.
- Scott, Robert (1 November 2010). Blood Frenzy. Mass Market Paperback. pp. 296–297.
- Patterson, Lisa (24 February 2006). "Cold Cases Haunt Detectives". Aberdeen Daily World. The Daily World. Retrieved 29 April 2015.
- Grays Harbor Sheriff's Office on Facebook
- "Lyle Stevik Identified; Closing 16 1/2 Year Old Unsolved Case". KXRO. Alpha Media LLC. 8 May 2018. Retrieved 8 May 2018.
- Edge, Sami (31 March 2018). "Internet sleuths, DNA link John Doe to Northern New Mexico". Santa Fe New Mexican. Retrieved 2 April 2018.
- "Case File 233UMWA". doenetwork.org. The Doe Network. Retrieved 12 November 2014.
- "Who is Lyle Stevik? (Found in WA State)". 30 December 2006. Retrieved 29 December 2014.
- "Suicide victim discovered in motel room". Aberdeen Daily World. The Daily World. 18 September 2001.
- "Active unidentified remains cases". www.co.grays-harbor.wa.us. Grays Harbor Medical Examiner. Retrieved 29 December 2014.
- "NamUs UP # 11100". identifyus.org. National Missing and Unidentified Persons System. 20 March 2013. Retrieved 29 December 2014.
- "'Missing from the Circle' service launched to find missing Natives" (22). Native American Times. June 1, 2007. Retrieved 30 April 2015.
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