Federal officials have used DNA to verify the identity a John Doe in Ohio as a suspect wanted for parole violations in West Virginia since 1989.

John Paul Devaughn was convicted of murdering his brother-in-law in Ritchie County in May 1983. Devaughn served 5 years in prison and was released on parole in October 1987.

In October of 1989, Devaughn stopped reporting to authorities and warrants were issued for his arrest. Since January of 2011, the U.S. Marshals Service Northern District of West Virginia has conducted interviews and surveillance to locate Devaughn. Deputies were able to get a voluntary DNA sample from a relative that was submitted to the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) in 2015.

On November 13, 2020, a match to an unidentified body found in a van in Portage County, Ohio. The body was found April 13, 1988 with a leather bracelt on one arm that said “John.”

“This case was a true team effort” said US Marshal J.C. Raffety. “The hard work of our deputies, combined with the continued efforts of Portage County, OH authorities, and the forensic technologies utilized by NamUs all were key in bringing closure to this case.”

The West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation, West Virginia State Police, Ritchie County Sheriff’s Department, Fairmont Police Department, and Ohio State Patrol all assisted in the case.