DNA identification of "Earthquake McGoon" 50 years postmortem

Jodi A. Irwin, Suni M. Edson, Odile Loreille, Rebecca S. Just, Suzanne M. Barritt, Demris A. Lee, Thomas D. Holland, Thomas J. Parsons, Mark D. Leney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


This report describes the genetic identification of James "Earthquake McGoon" McGovern, a WWII fighter ace who perished in Laos while providing supplies to French troops during the French Indochina war. Because reference samples were unavailable for all of the potential casualties, testing of the entire mitochondrial genome, autosomal STRs and Y-chromosomal STRs was performed to increase the genetic information available for analysis. Kinship analyses performed on the evidentiary data and numerous indirect family references for McGovern excluded other possible casualties and definitively established McGovern's identity. This particular case demonstrates the practical utility of novel research technologies and aggressive genetic typing protocols in the identification of aged, degraded remains.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1115-1118
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Forensic Sciences
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Genetics


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