CONFIRMED SIBLING OF SKELETAL REMAINS
On November 17, 1984, the Lee County Sheriff's Office was contacted regarding skeletal remains found in a field off of CR 200 approximately five miles west of Giddings, Texas by hunters in the area. These remains, consisting of only four bones, were recovered by the Lee County Sheriff's Office. The skeletal remains were sent to Texas Tech University, and examined by a Forensic Anthropologist. It was determined the skeletal remains were that of a white male, age 30 to 39. No leads were developed at that time.
In 2006, Sheriff Rodney Meyer, who originally worked the investigation, requested the assistance of the Texas Rangers with identifying the skeletal remains. The skeletal remains were submitted to the University of North Texas, where a DNA profile was extracted from the remains and ran through the missing persons and unidentified persons DNA database. No DNA match was found in the database, largely due to the database only consisting of samples submitted by families of missing persons.
In 2008, the skeletal evidence was sent to the Forensic Anthropology Center at the Texas State University (FACTS) for analysis. Having only four bones to work with, FACTS' determined, the deceased person was a Caucasian male between the ages of 20 and 50, most likely in the age range of 23 to 40.
Also in 2008, Texas Rangers forensic artist Suzanne Birdwell developed two facial reproductions of the unidentified person using the cranium. These reproductions were released to the public in hopes of developing leads on the person's identity.
In March of 2011, Sheriff Meyer and Texas Ranger Brent Barina submitted the cranium to Forensic Odonatologist Dr. David Senn of the University of Texas Health and Science Center in San Antonio. Dr. Senn extracted teeth from the cranium and sent the teeth to the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden for bomb pulse radiocarbon age testing in hopes of narrowing down the age range of the human remains. The results were received in 2013 and no leads were developed from the bomb pulse radiocarbon age testing.
In May of 2019, Sheriff Meyer and Ranger Barina consulted with Kevin Lord of the DNA Doe Project to inquire about forensic genealogy testing regarding the DNA profile from the human remains extracted by the University of North Texas. In August, In May of 2019, Sheriff Meyer and Ranger Barina consulted with Kevin Lord of the DNA Doe Project to inquire about forensic genealogy testing regarding the DNA profile from the human remains extracted by the University of North Texas. In August, DNA from the University of North Texas was sent to HudsonAlpha Discovery (Huntsville, AL) for whole genome sequencing, with Dr. Gregory Magoon subsequently handling bioinformatics. Data was uploaded to GEDmatch / FamilyTreeDNA and a team of volunteers began investigative genetic genealogy research.
In June of 2020, the DNA Doe Project provided a potential relative to the human remains. The DNA Doe Project reported the human remains may be James L. Hamm and potential relative was believed to be a brother, Eugene Hamm, living in Florida. Sheriff Meyer and Ranger Barina contacted the relative and learned his brother, James Hamm, had been missing since 1984. The Lee County Sheriff's Office in Florida assisted with obtaining a DNA sample from Eugene Hamm. This DNA sample was sent to DNA Solutions in Oklahoma where a DNA profile was developed. The DNA profile developed from Eugene Hamm was sent to the University of North Texas to be compared to the DNA extracted from the human remains.
In October of 2020, the University of North Texas confirmed the human remains were a biological sibling of Eugene Hamm. On October 15, 2020, Justice of the Peace Michal York held an inquest on the remains. The remains will be turned over to Phillips and Luckey Funeral Home in Giddings.