August 12, 2021

John Doe in 1995 Railway Death Identified Using DNA Technology

The Saskatchewan Coroners Service has successfully identified a man who was struck by a train in 1995 as Michael Kirov, originally from Winnipeg.

Michael's identity was verified in early August 2021 through the services of US-based company Othram.  The Coroners Service hired Othram to use genealogic DNA research as part of its ongoing work to solve the case.

"Over the past 26 years, the Coroners Service in conjunction with the Regina Police Service exhausted all avenues to find the identity of this unknown man," said Chief Coroner Clive Weighill.  "With persistent investigation and new technologies, we can now provide closure for his family."

On July 28, 1995, Michael was struck by a train at the railroad crossing at Courtney Street and 13th Avenue in Regina.  Without any way for authorities to identify him at the time, Michael remained a John Doe for the next 26 years.

"We would like to express our heartfelt thanks and appreciation to all involved and we pray every one finds peace and closure knowing that Michael was very much loved and has been reunited with his family," the family wrote in a statement.

The investigation into Michael's death was carried out by the Saskatchewan Coroners Service in collaboration with the Regina Police Service.

"Dates on a calendar change, but our determination does not," Regina Police Service Chief Evan Bray said.  "For years, the Regina Police Service and Saskatchewan Coroners Service have worked collaboratively to learn this young man’s identity and bring him 'home' to his family.  We would not be here today without a combination of skill, direction, persistence and hope.  And hope is a message to all families seeking answers: we won’t give up."

The Saskatchewan Coroners Service is responsible for the investigation of all sudden, unexpected and unnatural deaths in order to improve the health, safety and quality of life of the citizens of our province.  The service is an independent agency operating under the direction of the Chief Coroner of Saskatchewan.