Bay Area/ North SF Bay Area/ Crime & Emergencies
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Published on April 23, 2024
Sonoma's "Motorcycle Mountain" Skull Identified Two Decades Later as Jeffrey Thomas RupenSource: Sonoma Sheriff

After over two decades of mystery, the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office has finally identified the skull found on what locals ominously call "motorcycle mountain". The remains were discovered in 2001 and have just been confirmed to belong to Jeffrey Thomas Rupen, thanks to the efforts of genetic genealogy.

In a chilling case that's been cold for years, the breakthrough was made when John Doe's DNA was submitted to the DNA Doe Project in late 2022, setting off a methodical search to give a name to the victim finally. The project, specialising in identifying the unidentified through genetic testing, managed to track down a potential relative, leading to the confirmation of Jeffrey's brother. The California Department of Justice DNA laboratory was subsequently able to link the DNA to that of Jeffrey's family definitively.

According to the announcement by the Sheriff’s Office, Jeffrey was born in North Carolina in 1958 and later pursued higher education at Columbia University in New York, where he studied political science. He became estranged from his family in the early 1980s while living in New York City and is believed to have made his way to California, where rumors suggest he worked as a house painter.

The Sheriff's Office is now reaching out to the public to piece together the final chapters of Jeffrey's life—and, more importantly, the circumstances of his death. They are urging anyone with information, no matter how seemingly inconsequential, to come forward. "Our Cold Case Unit can be reached at (707) 565-2727 or by email [email protected]," the statement read, emphasizing the ongoing effort to solve this long-standing mystery. Tips can also be submitted anonymously through the Sheriff’s Office Silent Witness program at witness.