Authorities have confirmed that DNA results from human remains found a year and a half ago at a Windsor park belong to a man who was reported missing in 2010, Sonoma County sheriff’s deputies said today.
John Farfan was 49 or 50 years old when he walked away from Le Elen Manor, an assisted living facility located on Old Redwood Highway near Larkfield, on June 15, 2010, according to deputies and the national missing persons database.
Care providers called deputies in the morning to report him missing after he failed to return to the facility, deputies said.
A search of the area produced no results and Farfan’s family told deputies they had not seen or heard from him recently. Deputies searched surveillance footage from nearby businesses, created fliers, alerted residents and entered his information into the state’s missing persons database, according to deputies.
Deputies said Farfan was neither ill nor suicidal and had no known enemies. Authorities did not believe him to be the victim of foul play and said he left the facility voluntarily.
Farfan had no dental records, so with the assistance of other law enforcement agencies, deputies were able to collect DNA from Farfan’s family, should his DNA be uploaded to a national database at any point.
More than three years later, on Dec. 8, 2013, a man walking with his two children at Shiloh Ranch Regional Park in the unincorporated community of Windsor found a skeleton and a tennis shoe in a creek bed, according to deputies.
Deputies arrived on scene and confirmed the presence of a human skull and ultimately removed the skull, along with a vertebrae, pelvis, ribs, femur and lower leg, deputies said.
Detectives from the coroner’s office sent the remains to the human identification lab at California State University in Chico, which deputies said is a forensic anthropology lab that specializes in the identification of human remains.
A forensic pathologist was able to determine roughly how long the person had been dead, along with the gender, age, height and possibly ancestry of the remains, deputies said. But it wasn’t until the California Department of Justice’s laboratory was able to extract DNA from the bones and analyze it that authorities were able to confirm the bones belonged to Farfan.
The lab confirmed the results on Monday and authorities informed Farfan’s family on Friday, deputies said.
In a statement from the sheriff’s office, deputies said the DNA process is extremely laborious and time-consuming but was the only way to positively identify Farfan:
“Through complicated and determined work, the Sonoma County (coroner’s office) was finally able to bring closure for John Farfan’s family.”