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Human remains from 2003 Flathead County 'cold case' identified

Steven Gooch
Posted at 3:24 PM, Feb 07, 2022

KALISPELL - Authorities in the Flathead have identified the remains of a man that were found in the area of Redgate Road in Marion on Oct. 26, 2003.

The Flathead County Sheriff’s Office – in conjunction with the nonprofit DNA Doe Project -- has positively identified the male as Steven Edward Gooch of Washington.

The DNA Doe Project — a nonprofit made up of volunteers who partner with law enforcement to provide investigative genetic genealogy to solve cases of unidentified remains — has been working on the case for approximately three years.

“Last month they located several individuals who they believed could possibly be a relative of the unidentified male,” Flathead County Sheriff Brian Heino noted.

The Sheriff’s Office contacted one of the people who said his son had left the area of Bothell, Washington in 1995, and the family had not heard from him since. The DNA Doe Project compared this man’s DNA profile with our unidentified male’s DNA profile and confirmed that our Doe was in fact the son of this man.

When Steven Gooch’s family last heard from him in 1995, he was 29 years old. According to his family, he was in San Diego and was possibly headed to Las Vegas. The family reported him missing in 1996 after not hearing from him again.

“Our sincere condolences go out to the family during this time, and we hope that this identification will help bring closure to them. We also hope to be able to provide more answers about the last days of Steven Gooch’s life,” Sheriff Heino said.

"We would like to acknowledge and thank the volunteers at the DNA Doe Project for the countless hours they worked to make this identification,” Sheriff Heino concluded.

Anyone with information that could be helpful to the investigation is asked to contact the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office at 406-758-5600 or email tips@flathead.mt.gov