The real identity of Lyle Stevik, a man who died by suicide in a Washington state motel in the days following 9/11, was finally solved last week, according to the nonprofit organization DNA Doe Project.
On Sept. 17, 2001, a man who checked into a model in Amanda Park, Washington was found deceased in his room. It was determined that he took his own life by hanging the day before. He signed into the hotel using the pseudonym "Lyle Stevik." According to the Doe Network, he left a note behind, but only wrote "suicide" on it.
For more than 16 years, the case remained unsolved until internet sleuths at the DNA Doe Project took up the case. According to The New Mexican, they linked him to possible family members in New Mexico.
“We’re pretty confident that some of his ancestors, two or three generations back, were located in Northern New Mexico,” Margaret Press, the co-founder of the DNA Doe Project, told the New Mexican in March.
Then on May 8, the DNA Doe Project announced it was successful and solved the 16 and a half-year mystery.
The group said it funded the analysis of Stevik's DNA for the Sheriff’s Office and the Grays Harbor County Coroner’s Office. The coroner agreed to provide a DNA sample and volunteers started working on the case on March 22.
"Through the work of the DNA Doe Project, the group was able to come up with a possible match of a man from California. Associated with this possible match were names of relatives. Investigators with the Sheriff’s Office were able to contact these possible family members and eventually able to positively identify 'Lyle' through fingerprints provided by the family," the group said in a statement. "The family believed that 'Lyle' was still alive, just did not want to associate with family. Our victim was 25 years of age at the time of his death."
Stevik's family requested that his real name not be made public.
Back in 2001, authorities were left puzzled by the suicide. When he signed in at the motel, he listed an address in Meridian, Idaho, which turned out to be a Best Western. He said he was staying for a few days, but only paid for one night. He left money "for the room," according to a note found on the nightstand. He only brought a toothbrush and toothpaste with him, aside from the clothes he was wearing.
Stevik also arrived by bus, so he did not leave a car behind. He also never made any calls or received any.
It was speculated that he was Canadian because the motel clerk said he had a "slight Canadian accent."
To make matters more difficult, Stevik did not match any missing persons description. It is also believed "Lyle Stevik" was a pseudonym because "Lyle Stevick" is a character in Joyce Carol Oates book You Must Remember This, which features the character attempting suicide.0comments
"This was the group’s first Doe Fund Me case and was funded in less than 24 hours with contributions from around the world. The group also wanted to thank all 900,000 plus people who have contributed their DNA results to the GEDmatch database," the DNA Doe Project said. "Without them this identification could never have been made."
Photo credit: Facebook/ The DNA Doe Project