Lyle Stevik

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Lyle Stevik
Lyle Stevik.jpg
Facial reconstruction
Bornc. 1976
StatusIdentified on May 8, 2018[2]
DiedSeptember 16, 2001 (aged 25)[2]
Cause of deathSuicide by hanging[3]
Body discoveredSeptember 17, 2001
Resting placeFern Hill Cemetery, Aberdeen, Washington
Known forFormer unidentified decedent
Height5 ft 10 in (1.78 m) - 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)[4]
Signature
Lyle Stevik signature.jpg

Lyle Stevik (ca. 1976 – September 16, 2001) was the alias used by a man who, in 2001, committed suicide in a motel in Amanda Park, Washington, on the Olympic Peninsula. Although his body was quickly discovered, and fingerprints, DNA, and dental information collected and recorded, there were no matches in any databases and his identity remained unknown until 2018.

On May 8, 2018, the Grays Harbor County Sheriff's Office announced that "Stevik" was identified after almost 17 years, with assistance through genetic genealogy conducted by the DNA Doe Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to identifying unknown deceased persons. They had found a cluster of matches of relatives, perhaps two to three generations removed, in New Mexico. They were able finally to locate members of his birth family.[2]

The man's family said that Stevik was 25 years old when he died, and he had previously resided in Alameda, California. They had believed that he was estranged from the family. His relatives requested that his identity be withheld for privacy.[5][6]

Circumstances[edit]

Stevik checked into the Quinault Inn, a motel in Amanda Park, on Friday, September 14, 2001, after arriving in the area by bus.[7] The clerk told police that he may have been Canadian, as he spoke with what seemed a similar accent.[8] When registering for his room, he entered the alias and gave as his home address what was found to be that of a different hotel, a Best Western facility in Meridian, Idaho.[3] The police located that hotel, but none of the staff members recognized photos of the deceased.[4]

Stevik was reportedly seen walking back and forth at the side of a highway near the motel, but it is uncertain if this was before or after he registered and paid for his room. He requested and received a second room after complaining about outside noise.[9]

He may have derived his name from that of "Lyle Stevick", a character from the novel You Must Remember This (1987), written by Joyce Carol Oates.[3][8] In the story, the character Stevick contemplates suicide.[4]

Located by techniques of genetic genealogy performed by staff and volunteers of the DNA Doe Project in 2018, the man's family had been unaware of his suicide. They believed that he was living a life elsewhere and did not want to speak to them. Due to the estrangement, they had not filed a missing person report. There was no report that appeared to match the decedent.[7]

Death[edit]

Stevik's body was found on Monday, September 17. An initial report said he had stayed at the motel for two nights, but he had checked in on Friday, September 14, so he was there for three nights.[10] He paid at the desk for one night's lodging, but said that he planned to stay for "a few more days".[4][8] Stevik was described as light-skinned and, by his features, thought by officials to have some Native American or Hispanic ancestry; he had black hair and green/hazel eyes.[11]

He had hanged himself by his belt from a bar inside a clothes closet.[10] He had left money in the room to cover the remaining two nights of the weekend, together with a note reading, "suicide". He is thought to have died on September 16.[3][8]

Upon discovery of the body, police reported that the man had closed the blinds in the room and lined the closet in which he hanged himself with pillows. He left a note saying "for the room" at the bedside table, which contained $160 in $20 bills.[4] It has been speculated that he may have committed suicide due to depression, or because of a fatal disease, although the autopsy showed no signs of the latter.[4][8] It was also theorized that the man was native to a non-English speaking country. An investigator said that a piece of paper was located in a trash bin with the word "suicide" written on it, as if he were practicing.[4]

Stevik had no luggage with him; only a toothbrush and toothpaste were found in the room. He wore a blue shirt in a plaid design, a gray T-shirt underneath, blue jeans, and black boots.[8]

Postmortem examination[edit]

The local coroner's office said that he may have also had African-American ancestry, in addition to Native American and Hispanic.[11] DNA analysis concluded he was at least one-quarter Native American and one-quarter Hispanic or Spanish.[7] His teeth showed evidence of earlier treatment with braces. He had an old appendectomy scar. A mole was noted on his chin and he had attached earlobes, a genetic characteristic.

The examination also showed that he had recently lost a large amount of weight, up to 40 pounds (18 kg). The medical examiner estimated this weight difference after noting that the size of the man's jeans were fairly large in comparison to his body.[4] His age was estimated to be between 20 and 30 years old, giving an estimated birth date from 1971 to 1981.[8] He may have been up to 35 years old, however; so his birth could have been as early as 1966.[12]

The man known as Stevik was later buried in an unmarked grave at the Fern Hill Cemetery in Aberdeen, Washington.[7]

Investigation[edit]

Because Stevik was deceased for only a short time before his body was found, examiners readily obtained his fingerprints, dental characteristics, and DNA.[11] 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 daily traveled to Amanda Park. He was not, however, recognized by either of the bus drivers.[8] Two men who were missing at time, Alexander Craig and Steven Needham, were ruled out as possible identities of Stevik.[12]

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.[13]

Identification[edit]

In 2018, two genetic genealogists from the DNA Doe Project, Colleen M. Fitzpatrick and Margaret Press, uploaded DNA profiles to GEDmatch to attempt to link the unidentified man to individuals living in New Mexico and Idaho.[7]

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, in collaboration with Aerodyne and Full Genomes Corporation.[5][2][14] 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 had thought he 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 with the postmortem prints taken in 2001, and made a positive identification. To protect his and their privacy, his family has chosen not to identify him publicly.[2]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ 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.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  2. ^ a b c d e Dube Dwilson, Stephanie. "Lyle Stevik: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know". Heavy. Heavy, Inc. Archived from the original on 9 May 2018. Retrieved 8 May 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d Scott, Robert (1 November 2010). Blood Frenzy. Mass Market Paperback. pp. 296–297.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Patterson, Lisa (24 February 2006). "Cold Cases Haunt Detectives". Aberdeen Daily World. The Daily World. Retrieved 29 April 2015.
  5. ^ a b Grays Harbor Sheriff's Office on Facebook
  6. ^ "Lyle Stevik Identified; Closing 16 1/2 Year Old Unsolved Case". KXRO. Alpha Media LLC. 8 May 2018. Archived from the original on 9 May 2018. Retrieved 8 May 2018.
  7. ^ a b c d e Edge, Sami (31 March 2018). "Internet sleuths, DNA link John Doe to Northern New Mexico". Santa Fe New Mexican. Retrieved 2 April 2018.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h "Case File 233UMWA". doenetwork.org. The Doe Network. Archived from the original on 26 November 2014. Retrieved 12 November 2014.
  9. ^ "Who is Lyle Stevik? (Found in WA State)". 30 December 2006. Archived from the original on 1 January 2015. Retrieved 29 December 2014.
  10. ^ a b "Suicide victim discovered in motel room". Aberdeen Daily World. The Daily World. 18 September 2001.
  11. ^ a b c "Active unidentified remains cases". www.co.grays-harbor.wa.us. Grays Harbor Medical Examiner. Archived from the original on 23 November 2014. Retrieved 29 December 2014.
  12. ^ a b "NamUs UP # 11100". identifyus.org. National Missing and Unidentified Persons System. 20 March 2013. Archived from the original on 29 December 2014. Retrieved 29 December 2014.
  13. ^ "'Missing from the Circle' service launched to find missing Natives" (22). Native American Times. 1 June 2007. ProQuest 367273571.
  14. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 10 January 2019. Retrieved 14 February 2019.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)