Authorities identify body found in January

PORT ANGELES — A decomposed body found Jan. 11 about 600 feet east of the Clallam County courthouse has been identified through dental records and a forensic artist’s sketch as David Sidney Graham, 60, of Port Angeles, authorities said Thursday.

How Graham died is unknown, Prosecuting Attorney-Coroner Mark Nichols said.

“We don’t suspect foul play under any scenario,” he said.

Port Angeles Detective Trevor Drop said Graham had told a mental health counselor that he was considering dying by suicide next to a tree in a wooded area, which is where Graham’s remains were found in the Peabody Creek gully.

Drop said Graham, identified by police as a transient, had been missing for about two months.

A subsequent welfare check of Graham by Peninsula Behavioral Health was unsuccessful.

His remains were discovered by a man who had been walking in the gully who told an officer who was driving into the courthouse parking lot.

“This is a milestone in the investigation, in that we know who this person was, which leads us to understand what likely occurred,” Deputy Chief Jason Viada said.

Graham, who had lived in Sequim, has a brother in Port Ludlow who was notified Wednesday that the body was Graham’s, Drop said.

“At least he’s got some closure knowing that he doesn’t have to keep looking for him,” Viada said.

Nichols said toxicology results on Graham’s remains were negative, and there were no signs of skeletal trauma.

The King County Medical Examiner’s Office determined in an autopsy that the manner of death is undetermined, and the cause is “no anatomic or toxicological cause of death,” Nichols said.

“We can’t definitely say it was a suicide,” he added.

“The body was so badly decomposed that it hampered our ability to determine manner or cause.”

Drop said the investigation was stymied until a forensic artist’s rendition of what Graham might have looked like was posted on Facebook, and Graham’s name came up as a possibility.

Nichols said the medical examiner’s office had a record of Graham’s medical history, such as whether Graham had a heart condition, when a conclusion was made that left unanswered questions.

“Two things stand out to me,” Nichols said about the case.

“This really serves as an example of the benefit of forensic science and what it can accomplish.

“The rendering of what Graham looked like resulted in assistance from the public that helped lead to his identification,” he said.

“The proximity of the body to the county courthouse, of all places, is truly remarkable,” he added.

“It’s almost a stone’s throw from the coroner’s office and the sheriff’s office.”


Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [email protected]

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