The Somerton Man Identified

Australia’s most famous forensic case solved after nearly 75 years.

FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif., July 26, 2022 /PRNewswire/ —  Identifinders International and the University of Adelaide announce the identification of the Somerton Man as Carl "Charles" Webb, born 16 November 1905, Footscray, Victoria to Richard August Webb (1866-1939) and Eliza Amelia Morris Grace (1871-1946). He was resident of Melbourne, and by profession an electrical engineer and instrument maker.

The Somerton Man is Australia’s most well-known forensic case that has defied analysis since the man was found dead on Somerton Beach, South Australia, on 1 December 1948. The identification was made based on DNA obtained from hair found embedded in the man’s plaster death mask held at the South Australia Police Museum. Professor Derek Abbott of the University of Australia was permitted access to the mask and the hair in 2011 by the South Australian Police.

In 2018 the Australian Center for Ancient DNA (ACAD) at the University of Adelaide successfully extracted the whole mitochondrial genome of the Somerton Man to establish that he was Caucasian European along his direct maternal line. In July 2022, Abbott and Fitzpatrick were able to obtain additional DNA from the hair to create an autosomal SNP profile that enabled them to use forensic genetic genealogy (FGG) to identify the man.

The team discovered additional clues to support the Somerton Man’s identification as Charles Webb.  For example, Webb’s sister Freda was married to Thomas Keane. The name "T. Keane" or "Keane" appeared on several items in the Somerton Man’s suitcase, discovered at the Adelaide train station shortly after he died.

A twist in the story is that Robin Thomson who has been thought to be the Somerton Man’s son was found to have no DNA link. Fitzpatrick and Abbott were able to conclusively eliminate Robin as a relative, even though he shares rare teeth and ear features with the Somerton Man.

Identifinders International is a fee-based forensic service that works with law enforcement agencies and medical examiners to apply forensic genetic genealogy to solving violent crime cold cases and identifying unidentified remains.  For more information, please visit For Media Relations contact

Contact:      Misty Gillis                                                                                                                               
Phone:         (312) 285-1578

SOURCE Identifinders International LLC