GANGES TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — The Michigan State Police have identified the remains of a body found in 2014 through DNA analysis.
In August 2014, members of the MSP Wayland Post were sent to Ganges Township after receiving reports that partial human remains were found on the beach along Lake Michigan.
These remains were collected and sent to the Western Michigan University Pathology Department for DNA testing. When that was unsuccessful, MSP said the remains were classified as unidentified.
With several remains classified as unidentified, the MSP Special Investigation Section began working on a project to try to identify the remains in southwest Michigan. As part of the project, DNA samples facilitated by the DNA Doe Project were sent to the University of North Texas for additional testing.
This testing along with additional research done by members of the DNA Doe Project showed that the remains found in 2014 likely belonged to 59-year-old Ronald Wayne Jager. The DNA matched multiple relatives but no immediate family members, MSP said.
Jager went fishing on Aug. 1, 2000, and was reported missing the following day. The Coast Guard began searching for him off of White Lake Michigan with no luck.
On Aug. 4, 2000, Jager’s boat was found beached in Milwaukee Harbor, 70 miles away from where he was seen on Aug. 1, 2000, with its electric kicker motor still engaged and two down riggers trailing 200-feet of line. All four life jackets that he normally carried with him were still on the boat.
The DNA also matched another set of partial remains that were recovered in Oceana County in 2014, MSP said.
News 8 spoke with one of Jager’s daughters, she said the family is “thankful to finally have some answers” in the 22-year-old missing person case.
“The success of this project and many others like it rests heavily on the participation and excellent work being done by the DNA Doe Project,” Sgt. Todd Workman said. “On behalf of the MSP and the Jager family, we would like to express our gratitude and thanks for the amazing work they undertake and the service they provide.”
Western Michigan University’s Pathology Department is working to return the remains to Jager’s family.