LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) – On Feb. 28, Nevada State Police revealed that it had identified the victim in a cold case from 1980 thanks to advanced DNA testing.

In October of 1980, Nye County Sheriff’s Office Deputies located the remains of an unknown male adult approximately one mile east of US95 and 60 miles south of Tonopah near a dirt road. The office requested the investigative assistance of the Nevada State Police – Investigation Division and detectives responded to the scene.

Several evidentiary items were collected from the scene and subsequent investigation revealed that the cause of death was homicide via several gunshot wounds. Over time, the Nevada State Police Investigation Division conducted several interviews and made several attempts to further the investigation and identify the unknown homicide victim through fingerprints, dental records, press releases, and evidentiary items located at the scene.

No significant leads were established. As DNA technology evolved, a mitochondrial DNA profile for the unknown victim was obtained and entered into the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs.)

In March of 2022, the FBI, Nevada State Police and NamUS enlisted the assistance of Othram, an American company specializing in forensic genealogy, to perform advanced forensic DNA testing of the remains of the unknown homicide victim and a genealogy search. Othram produced a genetic report and several new leads for detectives.

With the assistance of the FBI, the remains were positively identified in December 2023 as Albert Matas of Commerce, California. Further investigation revealed that the family of Matas had lost all contact with him in September 1978.

The investigation into the death of Matas is still ongoing. Anyone with information on this case is asked to contact the Nevada State Police- Investigation Division at (775) 684-7456.


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