COLD CASE

HOMICIDE

Vincent Marion Trapp

Case# 92-0601

Last known photograph of Vincent Trapp taken within months of his murder

DATE OF MURDER: 

Estimated between spring and summer of 1991

DATE OF DISCOVERY: 

March 12, 1992

LOCATION OF DISCOVERY:

Sand Canyon area of Wellington, Nevada

It was an anonymous telephone call placed to law enforcement on March 12, 1992, that led to this nearly three-decades-long murder mystery.

 

The caller reported there was a dead body in the Sand Canyon (Wellington) area of Lyon County, and when authorities arrived on scene they discovered the skeletal remains of a male victim. Remaining unidentified for 28 years, he was known only as Sand Canyon John Doe.

The Lyon County Sheriff's Office, along with the Nevada Division of Investigations (NDI), have worked this case off and on throughout the years, and was finally able to identify the victim 28 years after his remains were found. 

 

In July of 2020, the LCSO Major Crimes Division—working with Parabon NanoLabs Snapshot out of Virginia, as well as Parabon’s Chief Genetic Genealogist, CeCe Moore—was able to narrow down a list of potential family members of Sand Canyon John Doe using genetic matches from the GEDmatch database and investigative genetic genealogy techniques. On August 31, 2020, we were able to confirm the identity of Sand Canyon John Doe as 43-year-old Vincent Marion Trapp, originally from Sacramento, California. Vincent Trapp stood six-feet-six-inches tall, weighed 190 pounds, and had blue eyes and red hair.

Back in 1992, a dog was seen (and photographed) in the area where Vincent Trapp's body was found, in addition to the discovery of a broken dog collar. It is theorized that this dog possibly belonged to the victim.

 

Although not wearing shoes at the time of his discovery, a pair of black Stadia brand shoes were located within close proximity to Vincent Trapp's body.

Part of victim's shirt
Dog of Sand Canyon John Doe

Actual photograph of the

dog that may have

belonged to the victim

When Vincent Trapp was discovered, his shirt was in tattered condition but a partial design was observed that could aid in the investigation.  

 

In 2015, the LCSO Detective Division, working with NDI, released a picture of the shirt fragment that Vincent Trapp was wearing at the time of his murder.  

Fragment of Vincent Trapp's shirt containing pattern

Shortly after its release, someone from the Websleuths website found the pattern and it was discovered to be that of a hawk in the foreground with the sun in the background. This helped identify the shirt and was even featured on local media outlet, KTVN 2

Also in 2015, while still trying to identify the unknown victim, isotope analysis was performed on his hair samples. The results suggested he was from--or had spent time (up to three months before his death)--in Nevada, eastern California, western North Dakota, western South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, Idaho, Oregon, or Washington (or a combination thereof).

Reconstruction of John Doe's Shirt

What the reconstructed shirt may have looked like that Vincent Trapp was wearing at the time of his death  

Vincent Trapp's case is featured on such websites as The Doe Network, Reddit, NAMUS, Web Sleuths, and NDI.

Photograph of Vincent Trapp from his military service (circa late 1960s)

Now that the Sand Canyon John Doe has been identified as Vincent Marion Trapp, investigators are once again asking for the public's help in this case. 

If you have any information regarding the murder of Vincent Marion Trapp, or know someone who does, we urge you to please contact the Lyon County Sheriff's Office Major Crimes Division at (775) 577-5206, the Lyon County Sheriff's Office 24-hour dispatch center at (775) 577-5023, or the Nevada Division of Investigation at (775) 684-7412. 

To provide information anonymously, you can text or call Secret Witness at (775) 322-4900. 

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