After nearly 23 years, a man who was found dead near the South Platte River has been identified, and the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment hopes to give the family of the man closure.
The body of Preston Christensen, 52, of Minnesota, was found in the 4600 block of National Western Drive in December 1999.
It took 23 years but our team at the Medical Examiner’s Office ID’d a man found dead in 1999. All they had was a clay representation of the man’s face. They used his DNA to ID a family member. We hope the family of Preston Christensen, 52, from Minn., finally has some closure. pic.twitter.com/Eev4qPCjO9
— Denver Public Health & Environment (@DDPHE) October 12, 2022
A clay model of his face was all the Medical Examiner’s Office had at the time to try and identify him, but now investigators were able to identify him thanks to advances in DNA testing.
A family member of Christensen recently went to the medical examiner’s office to provide a DNA sample, and it matched.
“Thank you for your hard work in solving these difficult cases and giving families some closure,” the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment said.
The Denver Office of the Medical Examiner has 18 unidentified body cases listed on their website, with the earliest being in 1970. According to their website, they have averaged one unidentified person per year since 1980.
With Christensen’s identification, investigators have solved three of the cases on their website now.
For more information regarding any unidentified person case, please call the Denver Office of the Medical Examiner at 720-337-7600.