Jim Neufeld, 55, was last seen leaving his home in Penticton Jan. 21, 2009. (RCMP photo)

Human remains found off U.S. coast in 2009 identified as Penticton man

Jim Neufeld, 55, was last seen leaving his home in Penticton Jan. 21, 2009

Jim (James) Neufeld was last seen leaving his Penticton home on Jan. 21, 2009.

Nearly 12 years later, U.S. officials in Washington State have now identified human remains found on the coast of San Juan County as belonging to Neufeld.

Neufeld was believed to be travelling in his green 1997 Plymouth Voyager passenger van, which was located under the Alexandria Bridge near the Fraser River on Feb. 3, 2009, by Hope RCMP. His vehicle was examined by RCMP forensic specialists at the time.

READ MORE: Kelowna break-in suspect arrested over weekend

On May 23, 2009, the remains of a deceased man were pulled from the waters of the Salish Sea off of Parker Reef, about one-half mile north of Orcas Island in San Juan County.

The remains were taken in for anthropological and forensic studies but went unidentified, despite efforts by U.S. officials to trace a number on a metal plate to hospitals, pull a DNA profile from the deceased, and develop and sketch what he might have looked like.

However, a renewed attempt to establish a DNA profile in September 2020 proved to be successful. In partnership with the BC Coroners Service Special Identifications Unit and the Snohomish County medical examiner’s office in Washington, the remains were positively identified as belonging to Neufeld.

“At first I was confident we would find his identity and family right away,” said San Juan country coroner Randall Gaylord. But when the case went cold coroners grew frustrated.

Jane Jorgensen of the Snohomish County medical examiner’s office was able to provide the fresh look that was ultimately successful

B.C. RCMP Southeast District Supt. Ray Carfantan said this case may bring hope to other families who have a missing loved one.

READ MORE: VIDEO: Dashcam captures head-on crash between snowplow and truck on northern B.C. highway



jesse.day@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

missing person

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

An Abbotsford man was killed in a motor vehicle accident on Highway 3 on Monday, Jan. 18. (Black Press file photo)
Abbotsford man killed in Highway 3 crash near Hedley

Fatality was discovered by passing tow truck driver

Mackenzie Ashley-Lynn Gilfillan was last seen Jan. 10 in the 45000-block of Menholm Road. (RCMP photo)
RCMP asking for help to find missing Chilliwack woman

Mackenzie Ashley-Lynn Gilfillan was last seen Jan. 10 in the 45000-block of Menholm Road

Abbotsford Recreation Centre is among the local arenas that are part of an in-depth review and analysis by the city. (File photo)
City of Abbotsford conducts survey on six local arenas

Input is part of in-depth analysis of current and future needs

A warrant was issued for Darwyn Sellars, 31, on Nov. 4, 2019, according to Black Press. (CrimeStoppers)
B.C. man’s rack of charges include Abbotsford and Williams Lake offences

Sentencing delayed against Darwyn Sellars, who pleaded guilty to lengthy list of charges

Singletree Winery in Abbotsford has opened two domes where customers can enjoy wine tastings and local goodies. (Photo by Megan Ashley Creative)
Abbotsford winery first in Fraser Valley to open wine-tasting domes

Singletree Winery offers two themed transparent enclosures

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C. adjusts COVID-19 vaccine rollout for delivery slowdown

Daily cases decline over weekend, 31 more deaths

A female prisoner sent Langford police officers a thank-you card after she spent days in their custody. (Twitter/West Shore RCMP)
Woman gives Victoria-area jail 4.5-star review in handwritten card to police after arrest

‘We don’t often get thank you cards from people who stay with us, but this was sure nice to see’: RCMP

An elk got his antlers caught up in a zip line in Youbou over the weekend. (Conservation Officer Service Photo)
Elk rescued from zip line in Youbou on Vancouver Island

Officials urge people to manage items on their property that can hurt animals

A Trail man has a lucky tin for a keepsake after it saved him from a stabbing last week. File photo
Small tin in Kootenay man’s jacket pocket saved him from stabbing: RCMP

The man was uninjured thanks to a tin in his jacket

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation Chantel Moore, 26, was fatally shot by a police officer during a wellness check in the early morning of June 4, 2020, in Edmundston, N.B. (Facebook)
Frustrated family denied access to B.C. Indigenous woman’s police shooting report

Independent investigation into B.C. woman’s fatal shooting in New Brunswick filed to Crown

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Delta Police Constable Jason Martens and Dezi, a nine-year-old German Shepherd that recently retired after 10 years with Delta Police. (Photo submitted)
Dezi, a Delta police dog, retires on a high note after decade of service

Nine-year-old German Shepherd now fights over toys instead of chasing down bad guys

Nurses collect samples from a patient in a COVID suspect room in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver, Tuesday, April 21, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
5 British Columbians under 20 years old battled COVID-19 in ICU in recent weeks

Overall hospitalizations have fallen but young people battling the virus in hospital has increased

Most Read