by Marcia Martinek Herald Editor Emerita
Feb 22, 2023 Updated Feb 22, 2023
The Independence Pass John Doe has been identified. His name is Gardner Paul Smith.
Although the identification has answered a lot of questions about the man whose body was found on Independence Pass in 1970, other questions remain. Some may never be answered.
It’s been thought in recent years that DNA would be the only way this man would be identified, and indeed that turned out to be the case.
For Jeanne Smith Gaida, a Realtor in Austin, Texas, the news came via a phone call from a cousin who carefully told Gaida that her father had been identified. As far as Gaida knew, her father had deserted the family shortly after her birth and had never been heard from again.
Gaida was then contacted by Melissa Kramer, a forensic genealogy analyst for the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, who provided her with a 2016 Herald Democrat article describing the story of the Independence Pass John Doe.
Gaida said she has spent 60 years wondering why her father disappeared “and being pissed off and on.” Her mother and other family members were reluctant to discuss her father with her. Yet the cartons of newspaper clippings that she acquired do tell a portion of the story.
Gardner Smith was born Sept. 22, 1930, the older son of Paul and Bernita Smith, and attended Modesto High School in California. The Smith family, which included Gardner Smith’s younger brother Armour, was a skiing family.
The skiing industry, especially in the West, was just getting started after World War II. Paul Smith’s obituary in The Modesto Bee credits him with creating the ski resort Boreal Mountain California as well as being associated with several other businesses. It said he discovered skiing in 1936 during a trip to the Midwest and returned to Modesto to help charter the Modesto Ski Club.
His obituary notes that he continued to ski throughout most of his life. A broken leg at age 74 during a 1973 ski trip to Vail only slowed him down briefly. He continued skiing 25 days a year. His wife was also a skier, and it was natural that the sport was introduced to their sons. Paul Smith lived to be 93 and his wife 88. Since the whereabouts of Gardner Smith were still a mystery when they died, both of their obituaries list him as a survivor.
For Gardner Smith, skiing became his life. He attended the University of Nevada in Reno, skiing for the college team with some documented success. His daughter has one undated clipping that describes a win by the Nevada ski team at Edelweiss and says her father took first in the jumping, cross-country and downhill events.
In June 1951, Gardner Smith joined the Army, serving two years of active duty and then transferring to the reserves where he served four more years. He was honorably discharged in June 1957.
Read More: htmlwww.themountainmail.com/free_content/article_65dd0816-b252-11ed-b641-5fa0bbcacb2b.html
by: Arezow Doost
Posted: Feb 25, 2021 / 12:01 AM CST / Updated: Feb 25, 2021 / 10:28 PM CST
Texas is one step closer to requiring the use of a national database which uses fingerprints, DNA and dental records to solve missing and unidentified persons cases. Ten states have passed laws mandating police and medical examiners to enter case details to the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System or NamUs – but not Texas, even though it’s based in Fort Worth. Now two Texas families and a newly elected lawmaker are determined to help others looking for loved ones.
HOUSTON (KXAN) — Standing on the side of a packed street in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, David Fritts held his son’s picture and talked to anyone who would listen.
The photo was a more recent one of Joseph smiling. Fritts would show it to shop owners along the border and people crossing from Texas.
He would tell them that he was 5’10”, with brown hair and brown eyes and was last in the Laredo area.
“It’s really hard to describe the feeling of looking for your son with a picture and showing it to people … at one moment you’re determined and the other you feel so vulnerable,” the father described. “A lot of people were so kind … really caring people saying, ‘Oh I’m so sad,’ and they would look at the picture and say, ‘Oh, that’s your son, isn’t it?'”
He would make the trip countless times, even going to Costa Rica because Joseph loved to surf.
“Weeks turned into months,” Fritts said. “As time passed, especially after his brother Jordan’s birthday … we were all realizing how dire it was.”
A Marine’s struggle
Joseph was Fritts’ middle child.
“He was so full of life and had so many great friends and always lit up the room. He was just such a character,” he said, smiling.
Fritts recalled how he excelled in college and then how proud he was when he joined the Marines.
“Joseph was the rough, tough little buffed-up guy, you know. Even in the Marines, he was number one in that whole class, as far as physical activity, you know. But it’s still tough, you know. It’s still mentally and physically tough, and Joseph didn’t always smile in pictures, but that one he was definitely smiling after boot camp. He was so happy to have graduated,” Fritts said, pointing to a picture of Joseph in uniform.
Continue reading this story at the link below:
If your state is not requiring the use of NamUs contact your local representative and ask them to start legislation to require it.
Clarence Theodore Moore has been located in #Canada - Mr. Moore passed away last year. A positive ID was made thru DNA testing. May he RIP
Eastlake mystery man identified as WWII veteran who disappeared in 1965
POSTED 9:42 AM, JUNE 21, 2018, BY DARCIE LORENO, UPDATED AT 03:12PM, JUNE 21, 2018
EASTLAKE, Ohio -- A man whose 2002 suicide led to extensive speculation about his true identity has been identified as Robert Ivan Nichols, a World War II veteran who disappeared in 1965.
But now that authorities know who the man is, they're asking for the public's help to learn why he went off the map.
"Someone out there may hold the key as to why," U.S. Marshal Peter Elliot said during a press conference Thursday. "We need the public's help as to why."
Joseph Newton Chandler III, a man in his 60s, killed himself in his Eastlake apartment on July 30, 2002. Soon after his death, authorities realized he was living under a stolen identity.
To read the rest of this article go to:
APRIL 24, 2018, BY PEGGY GALLEK
CLEVELAND – The Fox 8 I-Team has an exclusive look at a break in the case of a local mystery.
A family of a missing man finally getting answers to questions that have lingered for decades.
“When we first got the call, we thought someone was playing a prank on us,” said Jeanie Cooper. “We just couldn’t believe it, that they finally found him.”
But it wasn’t a prank. The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s office had finally been able to identify a man that was found in Lake Erie in 1980.
“The fellow who was found floating in Lake Erie had no identification on him,” Dr. Thomas Gilson told the Fox 8 I-Team Tuesday morning. He said the man’s fingerprints were taken at the time, and after officials at the time were not able to identify them, those prints were stored.
Through the years attempts were made to identify the man and employees kept working the case. Last summer, Anjie Fischer tried again.
“I don’t give up because all these unidentified people are somebody’s, somebody,” Fischer said.
Fischer said she teamed up with Cleveland Police on a project , and they sent the fingerprint cards to the National Missing And Unidentified Persons System. She said new technology helped make the identification.
“We got a hit pretty quickly,” Fischer said. After more than three decades, officials finally were able to put a name with the unidentified man, Dale Edwin Cooper.
Fischer was then able track down his family members, who live in Fairview Park.
“We have been searching for him for years,” said Cooper’s younger brother, Keith. “He was in the Air Force. He returned home and was living in Cleveland when he went missing. “
Keith Cooper said he and his family are extremely thankful to the medical examiner’s office for their hard work and dedication.
“This is bitter sweet,” said Keith Cooper. “It is good to finally know. This brings us closure and peace.”
Jeremy Baker, KENS 11:37 PM. CDT October 22, 2017
Janet Griffey says her sister, Wendy Martinez, was the life of the party. "Singing was her passion. She loved to sing."
On the night of December 3, 2009 that party came to an end. It was the last time they ever saw Martinez.
They were celebrating her birthday at a dance club on the city's Northeast side. "We called it a night,” Griffey says. “She didn't. She stayed behind which was nothing out of the ordinary."
Martinez, who lived with Griffey at the time, never came home. "Years passed and years passed. We had nothing. No clue, nothing. She just disappeared." Griffey would also get monthly calls from detectives; calls that were not easy to take. "They were either going to tell you that we found your sister, or we haven't found her," said Griffey.
Last Thursday, detectives told her that Martinez’s DNA matched remains found on Brooks City Base. It wasn't the outcome the family was hoping for, but Griffey tries to remain positive. "Now there is closure, and that was the hardest part--not knowing what happened to her." Read more at the link below.
Beth Warren and Darcy Costello, The Courier-Journal Published 12:50 p.m. ET Aug. 31, 2017 | Updated 2:07 p.m. ET Sept. 1, 2017
No one, except her killer, is sure how a Louisville mother and veteran ended up battered and mostly nude dumped in rural Ohio.
For nearly 27 years, her name remained a mystery. But a determined Louisville Metro Police detective helped identify the body as Patrice Anita Corley.
Corley was 29, with a toddler son, when someone beat her in the head — causing her to die of blunt force trauma, sheriff's officials told the Newark Advocate, part of the USA TODAY Network. Her body was left near a dumpster behind a bustling truck stop. Her only clothing, underwear.
National database solves case of man found in Niagara River in 1994
By Rick Pfeiffer firstname.lastname@example.org Jul 5, 2017
The man was from Ohio. He had a family, a wife and children. Park police officials did not release the man’s identity.
“He had been kind of a drifter and the family never reported him missing,” Moriarty said.
The lack of that missing person report had hampered the attempts to identify him. NamUs, however, matched him using a fingerprint database from the man’s military service. Read more at the link below.
Montana "Cold Case" remains identified as an AF member
By Linda J. Card, AFOSI Public Affairs / Published June 22, 2017
On June 8, 2017, investigators received a dental match on the unknown skull found in Montana in 1982, Airman First Class Rudy Victor Redd had been found. On June 14, 2017, the coroner produced a death certificate concluding Victor's cause and manner of death were undetermined, but ruled Victor died on or about June 15, 1974.
Read more on the link below.
The case of John Doe No. 155 gathered dust on the shelves of the Long Beach Police Department, hidden among the dozens of unsolved mysteries. His death was ruled undetermined.
Last year, Long Beach cold-case detectives scoured the files for cases to reopen and stumbled upon the mystery man dumped at the Lakes apartment complex. They knew he had tattoos but had little else to go on.
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