Authorities in Minnesota announced Wednesday the identity of a man found dead in an abandoned railroad shed in Rosemount nearly eight years ago.
James Raymond Everett, 48, of Cohocton, New York, disappeared from friends and family in 2013, last seen at a rest stop in Montana, where he told a state trooper he'd quit his job and was just out driving.
On Sept. 29, 2014, a Union Pacific worker discovered human remains inside an abandoned railroad utility shed in Rosemount.
There was no wallet or ID to help identify the man, who police believed had been using the hut as a shelter. Newspapers and receipts suggested he might've died in the fall of 2013.
After police investigated hundreds of leads in the following years, the body could not be identified and the case grew cold — the unidentified remains were buried in 2017, according to the Hennepin County Medical Examiner's Office.
Two years later, investigators learned of a possible DNA match; a man who had been living in New York. Everett's family provided DNA and confirmed the match this year.
"We, especially me, never gave up searching," stated Patricia Everett, James Everett's wife, on Wednesday. “Although this has not been the expected nor desired outcome in our search for him, we are all grateful and blessed to at least have this opportunity for closure, which many are not as fortunate to get.”
Full statement from Patricia Everett
On behalf of myself, Jim's family, friends, and former co-workers, we wish to extend our deepest gratitude to Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office, Rosemount Police Department, especially the investigation team, as well as the public media and various other agencies that have invested so much of their time, energy, knowledge, persistence, and compassion with the investigation and identification of my husband James Everett.
We would also like to thank you, the residents of Rosemount, for your concern and compassion, your willingness to support and be there for a complete stranger by actively sharing information and for attending Jim's funeral service on June 30, 2017, and for those distant family members who submitted DNA for genealogy research as without them, he would never have been identified. We are incredibly grateful that he was not alone. Please be assured that we, especially me, never gave up searching. We were always on the lookout for him when out and about and frequently did a lot of online searching for any indication of activity or other clues as to his whereabouts. Several of us had a few of what we believed were sightings over the past eight years in places that he frequented prior to his sudden departure. The last being last summer of 2021 when I was certain I had seen him in the Penfield suburb of Rochester, New York. Knowing what I know now, this was obviously not Jim as he was discovered in Rosemount in September of 2014.
Jim was scheduled to go on a work trip in September of 2013, but I later found out that he did not attend this trip. For unknown reasons, he left home leaving keys in the mailbox and never returned. He was reported missing and was located a few weeks later at a rest stop by a Montana State Trooper so the missing person’s report was closed. He indicated to the trooper that he had problems at work and had quit and was just driving. I thought he may have reinvented his life and was living elsewhere, until I was visited by a police officer at my home inquiring about Jim.
I’d like to share a few things about Jim, so you know who he was as a person. Jim was a highly intelligent individual with a well-rounded collection of skills and various talents. He was a true computer geek since his high school days, to the point of training the teacher for our school's first computer class offered in 1984 with the arrival of Apple computers and DOS based programs. That passion for technology flourished over the years and became his life's work.
He was an accomplished cook and baker with significant experience in both short order and fine dining throughout the city of Rochester, New York. He relished the challenge of creating dishes and baking cakes for weddings, baby showers, birthdays, and so on. His creations were always elaborate and well-engineered.
He was a self-taught acoustic guitar player and had an amazing voice. Never a time goes by when I hear 'We've Got Tonight' by Bob Seger that I don't immediately think of Jim, as that was the song he sang and played for me at our wedding reception. He had everyone in tears by the time he was finished.
Jim was forever a fan of Denver Broncos football and Buffalo Sabres hockey, but he could instantly recite stats for pretty much any player of any team, whether for football, hockey, baseball, basketball, World Cup soccer, and even golf. That skill made him a very valuable asset for any trivia team.
Though he had very little family left, he was blessed with so many friends, acquaintances, and co-workers and loved and now missed by all. Although this has not been the expected nor desired outcome in our search for him, we are all grateful and blessed to at least have this opportunity for closure, in which many are not as fortunate to get. My heart truly goes out to those folks. Grief is not easy; there are no guidelines. It is different for each individual. The rollercoaster of emotions has definitely been a rough ride these past several months. I am thankful for the support of our family, friends, and co-workers. I'm also very thankful and blessed with everything that all of you here in Hennepin and Dakota counties have done. Thank you for caring about Jim and for letting me share a bit about him with you. For those who are missing a loved one, I hope this story provides hope that your loved one may also be found.