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RCNJ Investigative Genetic Genealogy Center in New York Post for Solving John Doe Cold Case

Dr. David Gurney, IGG Center director, and Ms. Cairenn Binder, IGG Certificate Program director

June 30, 2023

Students of the Ramapo College of New Jersey Investigative Genetic Genealogy (IGG) Center have successfully uncovered the identity of “Nogales John Doe,” now known to be Donald Sigurd Hadland, Jr.

Hadland’s remains were found in a hotel room in Nogales, Arizona in 2002, where he had registered for a room under a false identity just prior to his death. Although a fingerprint match was found revealing a possible identity as Hadland, questions regarding his identity remained unanswered due to conflicting identifying information. The Pima County Office of the Medical Examiner (PCOME) called him “Nogales John Doe” and his remains were interred in 2003 in Nogales. Students in the inaugural cohort of the Investigative Genetic Genealogy Certificate Program at Ramapo College, launched in January 2023, examined genetic associations of John Doe in the database GEDmatch Pro, which revealed his identity was that of Mr. Donald Sigurd Hadland, Jr.

This case is the first announced successful identification for the IGG Center at Ramapo College of New Jersey. Read more about the case and the work of the center and students in the New York Post.

For more information about Ramapo College and the IGG Center, visit