OGDEN — After nearly 18 ½ years, Ogden police have identified a man who died in a fire after making a match on a national missing persons database.
John Edwin Duff, 27, of Oregon, was killed in a structure fire at 119 W. 29th St. on Oct. 14, 1994, but was not identified until last month, Ogden police announced Wednesday.
Both the fire and the man's death were determined to be accidental, police said. His fingerprints were taken, but no match was found and police said the case grew cold after chasing all leads. Investigators believed he had been staying in the abandoned home.
Eventually, in December 2010, the man was entered into the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System.
Duff was reported missing in 1995 by his family in Multnomah County, Ore. Sheriff's investigators there were unable to locate Duff and, in February 2012, they also entered him into the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System.
Ogden Police Sgt. Tim Scott made the connection after being notified by NAMUS that there may have been a match to a man reported missing from Salt Lake City. That man was later excluded as a match, but Scott was able to identify Duff as the victim in the fire after the Utah State Crime Lab re-examined the fingerprints on file.
Ogden police then used the help of the database and investigators from the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office to locate and notify Duff’s family.
"The Ogden Police Department maintains vigilance on our cold cases knowing there are family members waiting for the answers," the department said in a prepared statement.