IN NEWTON COUNTY JOHN DOE: WM, 17-23, found near near Sumava Resorts, IN - 18 October 1983 - Larry Eyler victim *JOHN INGRAM BRANDENBURG*



1384UMIN - Unidentified Male


Artistic renderings by NCMEC, Barbara Martin-Bailey and Betsy Cooper; image of tattoo.

Date of Discovery: October 18, 1983
Location of Discovery: Lake Village, Newton County, Indiana
Estimated Date of Death: 1981-1983
State of Remains: Decomposed
Cause of Death: Homicide by stabbing

Physical Description
Estimated Age: 17-23 years old
Race: White
Sex: Male
Height: 5'2" to 5'11"
Weight: 160 lbs., with an average build.
Hair: Reddish-brown or auburn, wavy and of medium length.
Eye Color: Unknown
Distinguishing Marks/Features: Homemade tattoo of a cross with two dots or dashes above the horizontal found on the right forearm, palm side closer to the wrist. A second homemade tattoo is of a rectangle or U-shaped design with dot located on the outer right arm. He had severely fractured his nose earlier in life and also fractured his left ankle.

Dentals: Available. Several dental fillings. Staining on his teeth suggesting tobacco use.
Fingerprints: Not available.
DNA: Available.

Clothing & Personal Items
Clothing: Brown slacks with small buttons on the front (size 30x30), jockey undershorts, brown leather fleeced-lined ankle high hiking boots with brown shoelaces through metal eyelets (size 10 1/2).
Jewelry: Unknown.
Additional Personal Items: Unknown.

Circumstances of Discovery
Mushroom hunters found the victim in a shallow grave on an abandoned farm near Sumava Resorts, off US-41, a half mile north of SR-10. The victim was found along with three other victims. The victim had been drugged, bound and stabbed to death. Two of the additional three victims were identified via dental records. The third victim, 999UMIN, remains unidentified. They were all victims of serial killer, Larry Eyler.

Additionally, 3070UMIN, found three days before, is a suspected Eyler victim.

Eyler did not recall where he picked up this victim. However, he stated they seemed to be "familiar with one another." The victim, known to police by the nickname "Brad" allegedly accepted Eyler's proposition of $100 to perform a sexual act. The victim was subsequently murdered.

Larry Eyler, a Crawfordsville native, confessed to murdering nearly two dozen young men in the Midwest in the early 1980s. He was dubbed the "Highway Killer" because of where most of his victims' bodies were found - left in locations between Eyler's two residences in Terre Haute and Chicago. His path often followed U.S. 41 in Indiana and Interstate 57 in Illinois.

Five victims have been found in Newton and Jasper counties, and all linked to Eyler. Eyler would take victims from southern Indiana and bury them in northern Indiana - and vice versa - to avoid detection.

Eyler, who was convicted of murder and other charges in Illinois and Indiana, died while in custody in Illinois of AIDS-related complications in 1994.

Invetigators are seeking forensic genetic genealogy in effort to identify the victim.

Investigating Agency(s)
Agency Name: Newton County Coroner's Office
Agency Contact Person: Detective Scott McCord
Agency Phone Number: 219-285-2515 or 219-964-9872
Agency E-Mail: N/A
Agency Case Number: 56-09-Brad83

Agency Name: Indiana State Police
Agency Contact Person: N/A
Agency Phone Number: 219-696-6242
Agency E-Mail: N/A
Agency Case Number: 56-09-Brad83

NCIC Case Number: Unknown
NamUs Case Number: 6105
NCMEC Case Number: 1202842

Information Source(s)
JC Online News Archive
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Staff member
John Ingram Brandenburg

On April 24, 2021, almost forty years after the remains of four human bodies were discovered buried in a shallow grave off US-41 in Newton County, Indiana, the Newton County Indiana Coroner’s Office and the DNA Doe Project confirmed the identity of one of the men as John Ingram Brandenburg, Jr. of Chicago. He was previously known only as “Brad Doe”. All four were victims of serial killer Larry Eyler. One of the victims still remains unidentified.

In late 2019, after exhausting all leads, the Newton County Indiana Coroner’s Office, in a combined effort with the Newton County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, reached out to the DNA Doe Project for assistance with the case. DNA extract was obtained from UNT Center for Human Identification. The process took additional time while UNT ran a Family Reference Sample (FRS) comparison. In January of 2021, the DNA was sent to HudsonAlpha Discovery for whole genome sequencing. In March of 2021, bioinformatics work was performed by Kevin Lord of Saber Investigations in Belton, Texas. This process produced a file suitable for upload to genealogical databases. On April 2, 2021, the file was uploaded to GEDmatch. The top match was a close relative which led to the identification.

Upon confirmation of Brandenburg’s identity, Chief Deputy Prosecutor Rebecca Goddard remarked, “While my heart breaks for this family, I’m thankful that they finally have some of the answers they’ve waited so long for, and I hope this brings them peace. The DNA Doe Project has been amazing to work with. Every person I’ve encountered in the organization has been extremely professional, compassionate, and highly skilled. Newton County is very fortunate to have been able to partner with such a dedicated and knowledgeable group of volunteers.”

Team Leader L. Elias Chan stated, “We greatly benefited from their participation and involvement in our research process, and thank them for entrusting us with Brad Doe’s case. Our hearts are with the family and communities affected by John’s loss. It’s for them that we commit ourselves to assisting law enforcement with these difficult identifications.”



Staff member
The Newton County (Indiana) Coroner’s Office with the assistance of Rebecca Goddard, Newton County Chief Deputy Prosecutor who worked hand-in-hand with the DNA Doe Project have positively identified the remains of a young man found some 37 ½ years ago. The young man, who was known for years as “Brad Doe” has been identified as John Ingram Brandenburg, Jr of Chicago, IL. Family has been contacted and advised of their son/brother’s fate.

Johnny, as his mother called him, was one of four young men found on an abandoned farm in rural Lake Village on October 18, 1983. He, along with the others, had been drugged and murdered by now deceased serial killer Larry Eyler (the Highway Killer). Of the four victims found, three have now been identified. Michael Bauer and John Bartlett were identified early in the investigation leaving “Adam Doe” and “Brad Doe” unidentified for years.

Through collaboration with the DNA Doe Project, a 501(c) (3) volunteer group, and Rebecca Goddard, a volunteer as well, and the use of Genetic Genealogy a potential match was found. After reaching out to potential family members and them allowing the upload of their DNA into a program called GEDMatch a match of 99.59% was developed. Family was quickly and quietly notified, and this Office is keeping in close contact until such time as their son and brother can be returned to them.

The Newton County (Indiana) Coroner’s Office would like to thank Rebecca Goddard and the DNA Doe Project for their many hours of volunteer work to bring this case to a close after all these years. There are so many other people and organizations that supported and assisted this effort, and they too are thanked.

At this time no further information will be released until family has had time to grieve and they give permission to release more detailed information. It is the hopes of this Office that the family’s wishes will be honored and that they be given the time that they need to deal with this development.

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