Author Topic: MARSHALL COUNTY JOHN DOE: WM, 19-34, found off Eagle Point Road - 15 April 1997  (Read 160 times)

Scorpio

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https://www.namus.gov/UnidentifiedPersons/Case#/888/details

In April 1997, the body of a white male was found in rural Marshall County Alabama (off Eagle Point Road).

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http://www.doenetwork.org/cases/1702umal.html



A man looking for a place to fish in a creek in the Ruth community discovered the decedent's remains around 11 a.m. and called authorities. The remains were found off Eagle Point Road, about three miles west of Arab and about half a mile from the Morgan County line. The body was partly in the creek and was missing the head, hands, and feet. A rope was tied to the his legs.

Investigators believe he may be the victim of a homicide and murdered elsewhere before being dumped at the location where he was found.

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    http://www.doenetwork.org/cases/1702umal.html

    Date of Discovery: April 15, 1997
    Location of Discovery: Marshall County, Alabama
    Estimated Date of Death: 1997
    State of Remains: Not recognizable - Mummified
    Cause of Death: Unknown

    Physical Description
    Estimated Age: 19 - 34 years old
    Race: White
    Gender: Male
    Height: 5'9" (Estimated)
    Weight: 120 pounds (Estimated)
    Hair Color: Unknown. Body hair was sandy or reddish
    Eye Color: Unknown
    Distinguishing Marks/Features: Unknown

    Identifiers
    Dentals: Not available
    Fingerprints: Not available
    DNA: Available

    Clothing & Personal Items
    Clothing: Short-sleeved "Faded Glory" blue, green, and gray, vertically striped, pullover shirt; "Levi Strauss" 501 jeans (32W-30L)
    Jewelry: Unknown
    Additional Personal Items: Unknown

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The sheriff's office has a drawing of a man seen near Cataco Creek around the time the body was found who might be involved in dumping the man. He was driving a 1990s model maroon Chevrolet truck with tinted windows and a Georgia tag. It's unknown where he was from.

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https://www.waaytv.com/content/news/Marshall-County-Sheriffs-Office-looking-for-help-in-decades-old-cold-case-560274021.html

[size=16]Marshall County Sheriff's Office looking for help in decades-old cold case[/size]

The Marshall County Sheriff's Office is working to solve a decades-old murder. A man's mutilated body was found in April 1997 on the bank of a creek in Union Grove.

"I've been in law enforcement for 33 years, and 19 years of that has been an investigator here with the sheriff's office, and this is the only case I know like this," said Keith Wilson, the Marshall County Sheriff's Office Investigator on the case.

Investigator Wilson said he's been working on the case since 2000.

"There had been obvious attempts to keep us from identifying the body. The head and the hands had been removed and a surgical type wound to the victim's chest. That looked like someone was trying to hide an injury," he said.

Investigators know the man was between 20 and 30 years old, weighed about 150 pounds and was five feet, nine inches tall. The investigator said they believe he also had strawberry blonde hair. They don't think he was ever reported missing.

"The main focus right now is to look for a person that may be possibly missing that has never been reported. If anybody knows anything like that, if they would call us, that would be great," he said.

In a gruesome twist, the man's heart and spleen were surgically removed. Investigators are not exactly sure why but said it could have been to hide a stab or gunshot wound, and they think the murder didn't happen where the body was found.

"The body was only there a matter of days, or less. The decomposition occurred somewhere else. The body had been stored somewhere else before it was disposed of in that creek," Wilson said.

Wilson said the case has been looked at by many investigators, and they want closure for themselves and for the family.

"Every investigator since 1997 that has come through the sheriff's office has in some way touched this case, interviewed somebody, or followed up on leads. I have done extensive work on it. I would love to solve this case before I retire," he said.

The sheriff's office has a drawing of a man seen near Cataco Creek around the time the body was found who might be involved in dumping the man. He was driving a 1990s model maroon Chevrolet truck with tinted windows and a Georgia tag. It's unknown where he was from.

Investigator Keith Wilson said the sheriff's office has tested the DNA, done analysis on the evidence and hasn't had any hits. The latest DNA test happened as recently as six months ago on the 22-year-old case.

“It’s a matter of identifying that person, and I think that’s been the hold up of the case all along," he said.

Wilson shared they're looking into private companies that collect DNA to see if any of them could provide any sort of DNA match.

"That's been recent people solving crimes through private DNA companies," he said.

He said it's something that still needs lots of research.

"We're researching it. It's a matter of how we are getting one of the private companies to do that," he said.

Another option the sheriff's office is looking at is to hire a private company that could analyze the DNA and try to make a sketch of the man who was found dead.

It's been something they haven't been able to do because he was found with no head, and the cost for something like that could be near $10,000. The sheriff's office said the're still in the early stages of determining if they could use this technology and still have to secure funding.

The Marshall County Sheriff's Office asks anyone with information to call 256-582-2034. A reward may be available for information that leads to an arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for this crime.

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https://www.gadsdentimes.com/news/20190914/marshall-county-seeks-help-identifying-1997-murder-victim

[size=16]Marshall County seeks help identifying 1997 murder victim[/size]

April 15, 1997, a 17-year-old looking for a fishing spot on Cataco Creek in the Union Grove area of Marshall County spotted a man’s body — missing a head, hands and feet.

More than two decades later, investigators still don’t know who he was, who killed him or how he came to be on that creek bank.

Chief Investigator Keith Wilson on Friday invited the media to hear more about the cold case, in hopes that the public can help.

“We hope to allow a family, somewhere, some closure to their missing loved one,” Marshall County Sheriff Phil Sims said.

Wilson inherited the case when he joined the sheriff’s office in 2000, and he’s worked on it ever since, along with his current caseload.

This is what investigators know:

• The man, between the ages of 20 and 30, was not killed on that creek bank. Wilson said he’d been there three days or less.

• His head, hands and feet were removed with some type of saw.

• There were organs missing — his heart and spleen — and medical examiners believed more surgical-type skill was used to remove them.

• The body was in a state of decomposition, but that didn’t occur on the creek bank. “He decomposed somewhere else,” Wilson said, before he was brought to dump site.

• His legs were bound together near the ankles with rope and wire ties.

• He is believed to have been about 5 feet 9 inches tall, weighing about 150 pounds. Based on his body hair, he was a “strawberry blond,” with sandy or reddish hair.

• He was dressed in a short-sleeved Faded Glory pullover shirt, with blue, green and gray vertical stripes, and Levi Strauss 501 jeans, size 32 waist, 30 length.

Here’s what investigators believe, according to Wilson:

• The man’s head and extremities were 0removed to hinder identification — successfully, thus far.

• Wilson believes the organs were removed from the body because there was a wound there, and those organs bore evidence of it.

“There were indications that he was redressed,” the investigator said.

Asked if organ harvesting for transplant was a possibility, Wilson couldn’t rule it out. However, he believes destruction of potential evidence was more likely.

Wilson said the area where the body was found is fairly remote. “I don’t think someone just wandering through the area would have found that spot,” he said.

Whoever dumped the body went down a dirt road off Pleasant Valley Road north of Arab to reach the creek. During rainy periods, the creek sometimes floods the road, but it was shallow during the April days surrounding the discovery of the body.

“I believe this is a missing person who was never reported missing,” Wilson said. He said he’s combed missing person databases, sent both nuclear and mitochondrial DNA through DNA databases, all with no hits.

The rope found on the man’s legs and his clothes was checked, then sent back to labs to be checked for “touch DNA” that might have been transferred through handling of the body. Nothing has brought any leads.

Wilson said when the case was hot, there were a lot of leads coming in — enough to fill the file box he inherited, and two large binders he’s assembled.

Three days before the body was found, witnesses described seeing an early 1990s model maroon Chevrolet truck with tinted windows in the area.

A white man was driving the truck, and was seen leaving the area. Wilson said a composite was created and publicized, but didn’t lead to a suspect.

“He was acting nervous,” the investigator said.

A witness was hypnotized in an effort to uncover more information.

Wilson said he’s never stopped working the case, and when Sims came into office, he suggested publicizing it in an effort to identify the victim.

Without identifying him, Wilson said, it’s hard to know where to turn in the investigation.

“Maybe this is someone who went missing from the area around that time,” he said, and people just thought he left. He said he hopes someone will think back, and think of someone fitting the description who’s been long lost.

There’s always the possibility that hearing of the case again could prick someone’s guilty conscience, but Wilson doesn’t expect that from whoever killed this man.

“They haven’t got a conscience,” he said.

Wilson said early in the investigation, when there were reports of missing persons, efforts were made to get DNA from a hair brush or toothbrush to compare. Now he believes it will take DNA from a family member to identify the body.

He said the sheriff’s office has reached out to Ancestry.com, asking about the possibility of searching its DNA banks for potential matches.

There have been criminal cases in the last year where DNA submitted by individuals to companies that test for family history and traits has helped police solve cold cases — most notably the Golden State Killer case in California.

Wilson said Ancestry.com replied that it doesn’t do “third-party” DNA testing, but he plans to continue researching that avenue.

“I’ve got to get with someone who has used it in a case, and find out how they did it,” he said.

Wilson said there is a company that can take DNA and create a model of what someone looked like from the information they extract. It’s an intriguing possibility, and perhaps the only way to get an idea of the features, given the missing head. It’s also expensive — between $5,000 and $10,000.

A reward of $5,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the man’s killer was offered in 1999 by then-Gov. Don Sigelman. A reward may be available now, according to a press release from the sheriff’s office.

Over the years, Wilson and other investigators have heard stories about this unidentified man — some elaborate tales about where he came from, why he was brought here to be dumped and what became of his head, hands and feet.

But even when investigators were given names of suspects and went to question them, the alleged culprits just said, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

And there was no evidence to confront them with, Wilson said, just the story.

He said he hopes now, more than 22 years after the body was found, someone will come forward to help investigators write an ending to this story.

Anyone with information about the unidentified body is asked to contact sheriff’s office at 256-582-2034.

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Photos of crime scene