Barron County John Doe
On September 21, 1982 a group of loggers discovered the body of an unidentified male while working on a private property. Very little could be determined about who this individual had been in life as the body had been exposed to the elements for so long. Investigators from the Barron County’s sheriff’s department have worked tirelessly for the last 36 years in hopes of identifying and reuniting John Doe with his loved ones.
On a beautiful fall afternoon, a group of loggers who had been working on private land about 4 miles north of Ridgeland, (in the village of Dallas) stumbled upon the skeletal remains of a young male. At first, they believed they found an old pile of clothing but upon closer inspection they realized a skeleton was nestled neatly inside. The remains were located about 200 yards inward from Highway 25, on the top of a hill in a wooded area near an open field. John Doe’s skull and mandible had separated and were found about 3 feet away from one another.
EXAMINATION / PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION:
A forensic pathologist was called in to examine John Does remains. They determined the skeleton belonged to a white male between the ages of 18 and 24. John Doe stood 5’7” to 5’9” and weighed approximately 180 – 195 lbs. Investigators described him as having a ‘husky build’ perhaps once being a wrestler or a football player. He had brown hair. His eye color is however unknown. John Doe’s dental information is available and on file to aid in his identification. Upon examination, it was clear John Doe had just received extensive dental work that would have cost a bit of money. There was crowding among his lower teeth.
The Pathologist found John Doe had undergone a specialized surgery on his left knee not too long before his death. A surgically implanted staple and screw were discovered in his tibia. The staple and screw both contained serial numbers. This gave investigators a hopeful avenue to explore as they attempted to identify John Doe. The manufacturer, however, had no way of tracing where their products had been used. It was estimated at the time; a surgery of this magnitude would have needed to be completed in a ‘more sophisticated hospital’ and John Doe would’ve had an extensive stay that would range anywhere from 6 months to a year. John Doe would have also had to undergo some type of physical therapy to aid in his recovery. He would’ve been left with a visible scar on his left knee.
The pathologist labeled John Doe’s manner of death as a homicide by means of stabbing. This was indicated by cuts on the victims clothing that were consistent with marks on his thoracic vertebra. It is unclear how long the victim had been deceased. The earliest post mortem interval was estimated at 5 months, putting his death around May of 1982. Some believe, however, that John Doe died a year prior in the fall of 1981. It is also unclear if the location John Doe was discovered at, was the location he was murdered at or not.
John Doe had been discovered in blue, Sears jeans, size 38 waist, with a long-sleeve plaid cotton shirt that was light blue with dark blue and an occasional red stripe. The shirt had pearl buttons. John Doe also was wearing a lined denim jacket (Maverick brand) and blue tennis shoes with white vertical stripes that were size 10. The bottoms of the shoes showed significant wear. John Doe was also wearing white undershorts with blue stripes on the elastic waistband and white knee-high athletic socks with blue trim. A small black comb was found near the remains. It is believed John Doe may have worn eyeglasses, however, none were located at the scene. It is unclear how this was determined.
John Doe’s case seemed to stand still for quite some time until the year 2000 when Dr. Emily Craig created a facial reconstruction to distribute to the media in hopes of someone recognizing the unknown young man. Dr. Craig stated 20-30% of facial reconstructions lead to a positive identification as long as the correct person sees the image. She also stated while working on this case, she noticed John Doe had a very distinctive side profile and anyone attempting to identify him should pay particular interest to this view.
In 2004 the skeletal remains were sent to Quantico, Virginia to undergo advance DNA testing. The last update available on this case is as of February 2008, one test had been completed and authorities were awaiting a second test to finish. It is unclear if the test was ever preformed.
IF YOU HAVE ANY INFORMATION REGARDING THIS CASE, PLEASE CONTACT MARY DEXTER AT THE BARRON COUNTY SHERRIFS OFFICE AT 715-537-3106
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