Human Remains Tangled In Fishing Line Identified 44 Years After Discovery

By Zuri Anderson

March 6, 2023

Human remains discovered tangled in a fishing line decades ago in Washington state have been identified thanks to modern forensic technology, according to KCPQ. The skeletal remains have been identified as Gary Lee Haynie, a 29-year-old Everett man who went missing. Officials also provided a photo of Haynie when he was much younger.

In 1979, a duck hunter found skeletal remains on the tide flats of Spencer Island, which is south of Marysville, according to the Snohomish County Medical Examiner's Office. Officials listed him as "John Doe" and couldn't determine his manner of death.

A forensic artist released a sketch of what Haynie looked like back in 2016, but beyond that, his disappearance and death remained a mystery for years.

Then came early 2021, when investigators decided to send a section of his femur bone to Othram Inc. for testing. Forensic professionals created a DNA profile and submitted it to a genealogy investigator in Snohomish County. Authorities use the data to link the victim back to potential family trees. This information led them to Haynie's half-sister, whose DNA testing confirmed it was him.

Haynie was a piano enthusiast and a big fan of the Beatles, according to, which published information about the victim. Born in Topeka, Kansas, he traveled the world with his mother and adoptive father, who was in the Air Force.

His parents passed away before he was identified, and the circumstances surrounding his disappearance are still unclear. Despite that, Kristen Mittleman, Othram's chief development officer, hopes this can bring closer to the living family.

"It’s the most incredible feeling to know we can bring answers to these families who have been waiting decades to find out what happened to their loved one," Mittleman said.

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