Roanoke native’s remains identified in Park County, Colorado

They say the driver ran a red light in Cottonwood and drove the wrong way on State Route 89A...
They say the driver ran a red light in Cottonwood and drove the wrong way on State Route 89A before crossing into Clarkdale where that town’s police picked up the chase.
Published: Jun. 13, 2022 at 2:32 PM EDT
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PARK COUNTY, CO. (WDBJ) - A Roanoke native has been identified as the person found by hikers in the Lost Creek Wilderness in Park County, Colorado in 2020, according to the Park County Coroner’s Office.

Gregory Allan Woodford, 30, a veteran of the U.S. Navy, was identified by the Park County Coroner’s Office using forensic genealogy. Officials say he had been living in Colorado Springs for several years.

Investigators say Woodford went missing in June 2019 and believe he died the week he disappeared. Investigators say no ID or wallet was found with his remains.

“As county coroner, one of our biggest responsibilities is to make sure that the unidentified get a name, that their story is told, their families know what happened to them,” said David Kintz, Park County Coroner.

Click here to watch a news conference from the Park County Coroner’s Office.

Woodford was identified using a whole-genome sequence used to find the most recent common ancestor. His DNA matched with a great-great-grandfather, and officials worked their way down the family tree. Woodford’s sister uploaded her DNA, which was a match to Woodford’s DNA, into the United Data Connect database.

Investigators eventually got down to a close enough relative who was aware of a missing person in the family, then contacted that person, a sister, got her DNA and proved the connection was of a full sibling.

Woodford’s mother released the following statement:

“Greg, who is also named Mario when he served in the Navy, was an extraordinary son and human being. He was such an intelligent, caring, kind, generous, selfless man. Greg was drawn to Colorado due to its exquisite beauty and his inherent love for nature and animals. Especially dogs. And his deep passion for the wolf sanctuary. Greg was dearly loved by many people whose lives he touched and he will forever be missed. Words cannot sufficiently express my gratitude and appreciation especially to Dave ((HES THE CORONER)) and also to the genealogist and everyone involved in all the time and effort and resources used to identify my son. You have my deepest, heartfelt thanks for not giving up. Thank you so much.”

June 19, 2020, teenagers hiking in the Lost Creek Wilderness near Twin Eagles campground found human remains and notified the Park County Sheriff’s Office. Search teams were led to the location, where they began a search and recovery mission of a “scattered skeletal case,” which is a search for all the individual human remains and personal effects upon which weather and the environment had taken their toll.

The search began with forensic canines, which located nearly all the human remains.

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