CAPE GIRARDEAU – A university student played a role in unraveling the mystery of unidentified remains, resulting in a DNA match and the resolution of a Missouri missing person’s case. The DNA results were officially disclosed on Friday, October 6, through DNASolves.com, identifying the previously unknown bones as those of Louis Charles Borchers from Gordonville.
Back in 1980, the bones were under the coroner’s care before being relocated to Southeast Missouri State University, where Jennifer Bengtson, a professor of history and anthropology, became involved. According to Professor Bengtson, a SEMO student, Hanna Fulton, took the limited information available, which included last names spanning several generations and a distant familial connection to the bones, and began her research.
Fulton scoured archived articles of the Southeast Missourian one by one, utilizing Google Archives. She stumbled upon two crucial articles, one reporting the discovery of a skeleton on a farm in 1980 and another revealing the skeleton’s identification. The remains were discovered near Gordonville, Missouri.
This newfound information complemented the anthropological profile that Professor Bengtson and her team had assembled.
Cape Girardeau County Sheriff’s Office investigators contacted the closest living relative of the deceased to obtain a DNA sample for comparison. Following extensive DNA tests, it was conclusively established that the individual known as Cape Girardeau County John Doe was, in fact, Louis Charles Borchers from Gordonville, Missouri.
Borchers, originally from Germany, was last seen in February 1980. He was around 60 years old then. He had been admitted to Farmington State Mental Hospital, located roughly 63 miles away from Gordonville. Apparently, he walked away from the hospital and was never heard from again.
The remains were found on land previously owned by his family, a place he visited during his youth. No foul play is suspected in his death.