Donald Theodore Allison went unidentified for more than three decades after he was murdered near Lenado in 1979.
In April, the quests by Allison’s relatives and the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office converged to confirm that he was the man killed in a remote meadow above Woody Creek.
The sheriff’s office used namus.gov, a national database that tracks the missing and the unidentified, to help establish the name of Allison, a fishery biologist who was born in Toronto.
He was shot to death at the age of 50, and the culprit was never arrested. Mushroom hunters found his body in August 1979, a few weeks after his death.
Sheriff Joe DiSalvo said advances in forensic science also played a key role, as DNA recovered at the scene can now be winnowed between the victim and suspect or suspects.
The sheriff’s office preserved the body’s fingerprints, which were sent to the FBI in December 2011, after the sheriff’s office obtained a potential match based on several similarities in another case found on namus.gov.
The FBI alerted the sheriff’s office in April that there was a match between the Lenado victim and Allison’s government record as a biologist, ending part of the mystery behind one of the upper valley’s unsolved homicides.