EL DORADO COUNTY (CBS13) – Human remains found at Folsom Lake three years ago have been positively identified as Oleg Zheleznikov, a Russian man who drowned while swimming in the lake in 1996.
The remains were by a boy on November 13, 2015, at a time when water at the lake was low because of the drought. The boy’s mother said it was a spot typically in the middle of the lake, that, on a wet year, would have been covered by water. In fact, when the man died, the spot was covered by about 100 feet of water — too deep and murky for sheriff’s divers to recover his body, according to the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office.
The remains were transferred to Chico State University for forensic analysis and it was determined the body was that of an adult Caucasian man. A forensic odontologist then analyzed the dental work done and said it had not been done in the United States.
Around that same time, the sheriff’s department received a tip that Russian man Oleg Zheleznikov had drowned in the area. The key to positively identifying Zheleznikov’s remains was to find his daughter, Yulia, who was eight when he drowned, and match her DNA to a sample of her father’s DNA, the sheriff’s department said.
The FBI, working with Interpol and Russian authorities were eventually able to find Yulia in Russia, and in June 2018, made a DNA match. With assistance from the FBI, the sheriff’s office provided Yulia with a flight and hotel in the United States so she could collect her father’s remains.
On October 7, Yulia picked up her father’s remains at Green Valley Mortuary and met with the sheriff and members of the FBI and sheriff’s office staff who had helped with the investigation.