Author Topic: SMITHFIELD JOHN DOE: WM, 25-35, found floating in Smithfield, RI pond - 18 June 1987  (Read 147 times)


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Mystery Of John Doe

It's a murder that's gone Unsolved for sixteen years. But there's more to this mystery than finding a killer. Smithfield, Rhode Island police are desperately trying to identify the victim. In tonight's New England's Unsolved, FOX25's Bob Ward tells us this is a case that detectives are determined to break.

This case is both brutal and brazen. The victim was stabbed over and over, possibly with an ice pick. Then the killer dumped the man's body into a pond right across the street from the Smithfield, Rhode Island Police Department. No one knows the victim's name. But after all this time, police are still not giving up.

"You would think somebody somewhere would be missing him."

"He died a horrific death, no doubt."

Stump Pond in Smithfield, Rhode Island doesn't look like a crime scene. But in 1987, a grisly discovery was made here that's left a mark on investigators still trying to solve a vicious murder.

Det. Sgt. Kenneth Brown, Smithfield, RI Police: "The body was found out there, and ultimately, pulled up here."

On june 18, 1987, an object floated to the top of Stump Pond.

Capt. Gregg Catlow (Ret.), Smithfield, RI Police: "It was apparently a white male who was wrapped up in chicken wire. Tied with some weights, and rocks attached to him."

At first, the chicken wire, and 90 pounds of rock and barbell weights used to weigh the victim down, hid he fact that the man was stabbed to death. An autopsy later revealed he was stabbed 21 times..possibly with an ice pick. The brutality of the victim's final moments, is not lost on investigators.

Det. Sgt. Brown: "It was vicious. There's no doubt. Somebody was viciously killing him. Perhaps out of anger. Wanted him to pay for something. Because of the number of stab wounds. We can speculate this person was hated., and they wanted him to suffer."

But since 1987, this investigation has run into a brick wall. To this day police don't know the man's name. Since 1987 he's been known only as John Doe. And so far, the killer has gotten exactly what he wanted.

Capt. Catlow: "Given the manner of disposal of this body..the person didn't want this guy to be found."

All these years, smithfield police have been trying to give john doe his name back. It has been very frustrating.

Capt. Catlow: "We rolled his fingerprints and sent them to the FBI. They had no matches. And we've always kept them on file. Anytime someone had a missing person report, or any kind of inquiry from another department, we've provided them a copy of the fingerprints. But we've never had a match."

John Doe was killed before DNA technology was perfected. Still DNA might be able to help. It's hoped John Doe's DNA might reveal a family member.....And give this case its first solid lead...A name.

Det. Sgt. Brown: "By getting a name for the deceased, that will give us his associates. That will give us where he lived. His family members. What he did for a living. By getting a name we'll be able to trace his last steps."

In the meantime, Smithfield, Rhode Island's John Doe remains one of the state's most baffling cases. Incredibly, since 1987, one has reported this man missing.

Bob Ward: "John Doe was finally given a decent burial in 1992. And this is where he is..the pauper section of a cemetery in Providence. He has no name. He's just number 6549. And, as you can see, no one has been here to mourn him."

Det. Sgt. Brown: "The man is a human being. And somewhere out there, he has a family. And rightfully so, he deserved to be buried."

"We're not ruling anything out. We're outside the country looking for information. We're across the country looking for information. And were in the neighboring towns looking for information."

Bob Ward: "If you have any information about this case, please contact Det. Sgt. Kenneth Brown at the Smithfield, Rhode Island Police at (401) 231-2500 extension 35. Or you can e-mail him at Smithfield, Rhode Island is close to Massachusetts and Connecticut. The victim and the killer could be from anywhere in New England.

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