DNA evidence found in a mysterious disappearance and presumed death case in 1999 has been identified as that of a metal worker who had a cut-up corpse in his Portland, Oregon, shed.
Police arrested Christopher Lovrien, 53, last May after private genealogy firm Bode Technology matched his DNA to that found in the home of Mark Dribin, who disappeared in 1999. Dribin’s body has never been found and after the DNA match, police thought it might be on Lovrien’s property. While searching a shed after he was taken into custody, authorities found the dismembered corpse of a different man, identified as Kenneth Griffin, a homeless man who had disappeared in February 2020.
Lovrien pleaded not guilty in a Multnomah County court Thursday to two counts of second-degree murder, one count of abuse of a corpse, and six counts of possession of a firearm as a felon.
Authorities say they do not believe that Lovrien knew either of his victims or that they knew each other. They also said in a news conference after the arraignment hearing that they do not exclude the possibility that Lovrien had other victims.
In 2019, Oregon cold-case detectives inspired by the Golden State Killer case, which was solved through DNA, submitted samples found in Dribin’s home and car for analysis. They immediately tied the DNA to the Lovrien brothers, one of whom had used a private genealogy firm to trace his family tree. “They sort of point us in the direction of, ‘Hey you may want to look at this person or this family,’” Det. Brendan McGuire of the Portland Police Bureau said at a press briefing Thursday. “We still then have to target those leads and build our own evidentiary case on it.”
They found that one of the Lovrien brothers lived in the area in 1999. They then obtained a search warrant for Lovrien’s DNA, according to the head prosecutor Kirsten Snowden. “Until he submitted the known DNA evidence for genealogical analysis, at no time were police looking at Christopher Lovrien as a suspect,” she said, according to press reports.
Dribin was last heard from on July 1, 1999, after he called his boss at United Airlines, where he was employed as a cargo worker, asking for the night off due to a “personal emergency.” Police went to his home on July 6 after he was reported missing and found evidence that suggested a struggle and his death. They later found his car in southeast Portland, which also had Lovrien’s DNA inside.
Authorities have since asked for information about anyone who may have been living below a bridge on Interstate 205 between the summer of 2019 and Lovrien’s arrest in May 2020. They did not elaborate on exactly what they were looking for or if it was tied to either of the known murders or a different one.