On Friday, Sheriff Palmer from Grant County, Oregon, issued a press release announcing that the infamous Vance Creek John Doe 1996 had been identified as Larry David Stroh aka David Larry Stroh. The case was finally solved after Sheriff Palmer was put in touch with retired LVMPD Senior Crime Analyst and Investigator Yolanda McClary and her team.
After retiring from LVMPD in 2011 Yolanda went on to star on 50 episodes of the hit TNT series “Cold Justice” where she traveled around the county working with law enforcement agencies on stalled cold cases. Since leaving the series Yolanda has assembled a new team in addition to assisting with cold case murders, they also provide Autosomal DNA testing and genealogy research for Jane and John Doe’s in hopes of bringing them home and making an identity.
In the press release Sheriff Palmer shared “I am extremely thankful for the help and assistance of Yolanda McClary and her team of investigators from the private sector, the man-hours put in by McClary and her team and the financial obligation this organization (email@example.com) put into this is well into the thousands and thousands of dollars.”
In November 2018, Yolanda and her team began working with Sheriff Palmer on the mysterious case of the 1996 John Doe, who was the victim of homicidal violence.
The body reportedly had been left around the bank of Vance Creek in the late fall of 1996. His remains were not fully discovered until the following spring due to heavy snowfall. No missing persons reports matching the John Doe’s description had been filed anywhere in Oregon and there were no matches to standard DNA profiles developed after autopsy, that were then upload into the nation-wide database used by all law enforcement agencies CODIS.
After sending the bones to a private lab to have the extraction and Autosomal report developed, a process that takes around 8–10 weeks, the last week in January 2019, Yolanda and her team then uploaded the Autosomal report in public genealogy databases in hopes of generating potential family matches. They were able to locate a third cousin and begin working on family trees. One of the most fascinating aspects of Autosomal is the vast amount of third, fourth, and fifth cousins people have.
As with most cases of Jane and John Doe’s the most common match is a third cousin, depending on the size of the family, it can take anywhere from several hundred to several thousand hours of work narrowing down the possible identity of the Jane or John Doe.
After coming up with several good possibilities in the large extended Stroh family tree’s surely someone must be looking for him? As Yolanda and her team worked with Sheriff Palmer to start contacting the different branches of the Stroh family, they found out there were several someone’s looking for him, including the FBI. The victim as turns it out was a serial abuser.
Larry David Stroh aka David Larry Stroh, had been placed on the FBI Oregon most wanted list in 1997 for Unlawful Flight to Avoid Prosecution. Mr. Stroh’s documented criminal history started in 1969 and spanned at least three states from Nebraska to New Mexico and lastly to Oregon:
Charged with Motor Vehicle Homicide for a 1969 car accident in Nebraska. *Lincoln Journal Star 9/9/1969
Charged with Rape in February 1971 sentenced to 90 days. *Lincoln Journal Star 12/7/71
Charged with Assault in March 1972 sentenced to 7 years. *Lincoln Journal Star 2/21/1975
Charged with DUI and Battery in New Mexico in 1985 *New Mexico Court Records
Charged with DUI, Kidnapping, and Attempted Sexual Assault in Oregon 1989. *Statesman Journal, 4/2/89
Indicted by a grand jury for first-degree sodomy, first-degree sex abuse and second-degree sex abuse in Washington County, Oregon 1996. *Sheriff Press Release
Mr. Stroh’s identity was confirmed when a reluctant relative agreed to take a test by private lab arranged by Yolanda McClary and her team. Mr. Stroh’s family who he was long estranged from has asked for privacy and to remain anonymous.
There is now an open homicide investigation involving Mr. Stroh’s death. Did someone finally turn the tables on him? Is that how he ended up across the state without any identification and deceased?
Yolanda McClary shared “We spent over 1,000 hours working on this case and it turned out we identified a John Doe and also found someone on the FBI’s Oregon most wanted list. We are currently working on several other Doe cases and will have more updates, in the coming weeks.”