The convicted man committed suicide in federal court after the verdict, according to North Dakota officials.

New York Times

His ship disappeared in the Arctic Circle 176 years ago. DNA provided clues.

Two months after leaving Greenhithe, England, on July 9, 1845, Warrant Officer John Gregory wrote to Greenland’s wife, stating that she had seen whales and icebergs for the first time. Gregory, who had never been to the sea before, was one of two ships set out on Sir John Franklin’s 1845 expedition to find the Northwest Passage, a route through the Canadian Arctic Circle. I was on the Erebus. Asia. Sign up for the morning newsletter of the New York Times disaster. Erebus and HMS Terror are now trapped in ice in the Victoria Strait off King William Island in Nunavut, Canada. In April 1848, survivors (Franklin and about 20 others had already died) set out on foot to a trading post in mainland Canada. All 129 explorers eventually died, succumbing to cruel snowstorms and sub-zero temperatures. The fateful expedition has endured inspiring fiction by Mark Twain and Jules Verne, and more recently the general imagination of the 2018 AMC series The Terror, partly due to rumors that the crew has resorted to cannibalism. I was driven. The wreckage was quiet until 2014, when a remote-controlled underwater vehicle picked up the silhouette of Erebus near King William Island. Two years later, on the advice of a local Inuit hunter, horror was discovered in the icy waters of Terror Bay. The descendants of John Gregory didn’t know about his fate until more than 175 years after he sent the letter home from Greenland. Several sailors were identified after being found in the marked tomb. But recently, Gregory’s DNA was matched against a sample of offspring born in 1982, making him the first explorer from a trip whose body was clearly identified by DNA and genealogy. This is a process similar to the process used in recent years to identify suspected murderers. And victims in cold weather. Jonathan Gregory, 38, from Port Elizabeth, South Africa, received an email from a Canadian researcher confirming that the cheek swab he sent was a direct descendant of John Gregory. He had heard about the relationship between family and expedition, but “it was really a theory” until the DNA matched. (He passes by Joe, but the similarity in name “all makes sense,” Gregory said.) A relative living in British Columbia, whom Gregory had never met, was from a researcher. Seeing the request, I sent him a Facebook message in 2019, asking the descendants of the expedition sailors to send a DNA sample. “I took the plunge,” Gregory said in a telephone interview. “For us, this is history.” Douglas Stenton, a professor at the University of Waterloo and a researcher at the project, said a team of researchers from Lakehead University and Trent University was involved in site documentation and expeditions. He said it started in 2008, focusing on the recovery of new information. But in 2013, they became interested in human bodies in search of “identifying some of these men who died and became virtually anonymous.” “This is the story of human efforts in one of the most difficult environments in the world. It has resulted in catastrophic loss of life for reasons we do not yet understand,” Stenton said. I am. The circumstances that led to the death of the crew are still unknown. With the discovery of man-made objects over the years, researchers have continued to connect clues about the failure of the expedition. Gregory’s remains were excavated in 2013 on King William Island, about 50 miles south of where the ship was abandoned. It is likely that he died within a month of leaving the ship, Stenton said. It was a trip that “it was not always a fun trip in the sense of words”. Gregory was 43 to 47 years old when he died. Stenton said it was a relief to name one of the sailors. And the researchers were able to recreate what Gregory looked like on their faces, so the details of the expedition “remained elusive. I know, 175 years.” According to Stenton, the past. For eight years, the team’s researchers were “extremely hoping” to be able to match samples of living offspring with samples of sailors from a pool of DNA collected from the bodies. He said the first 16 samples they received couldn’t produce a match and Gregory’s pairing became “very satisfying.” Identification did not change the story of the expedition, but Stenton said, “The more individuals we can identify, the better some things that may help explorers understand what happened. There may be useful information about it. ” He said he was grateful to the family who sent the DNA, whether they were in agreement or not, and added that he was pleased to be able to provide Gregory’s family with details of the last year of the sailors. .. He informed them that Gregory was not alone when he died, as the bodies of two other sailors were found in the same place. “I have an eerie feeling about everything,” Gregory said. “But after all, I think it’s closed.” This article was originally published in The New York Times. © 2021 The New York Times Company