Navy hopes computer image will help identify dead man
Oct 30, 2008
The black man in his early 20s had cigarettes, a cassette tape and a plastic bag from a Navy Exchange in his pockets. He was about 6 feet tall and wore a Nautica sweat shirt and a Nike jacket.
Those are some of the few clues in a mystery that has baffled investigators since a body was discovered
between two piers at Norfolk Naval Station in May 1997.
The unidentified body was exhumed from a Norfolk cemetery in 2005, and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service made a clay model of what the man's face may have looked like. About a dozen leads came in, but none panned out.
On Wednesday, two NCIS agents offered up revised, computer-generated images of the man, as well as a few more details. They hope the new images, developed by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, might spark the memory of someone who knew him.
"It would be quite an accomplishment to give him back his name," Special Agent Amanda Burke said at a news conference.
Special Agent Giff Parker said John Doe could have been a civilian. At the time the man disappeared - likely late 1996 or early 1997 - the general public had access to the base, according to base spokeswoman Terri Davis.
But the Naval Exchange bag in his pocket, and information that he may have visited a Fleet and Family Support Center at Little Creek Naval Amphibious Base before his disappearance, indicate possible military ties, Burke and Parker said.
Sailors who deserted the Navy around that time have been ruled out, they said.
Parker theorized that John Doe may have been an active- duty sailor or Marine using up his last days of leave before mustering out of military service. He might not have had family expecting him. He might not have been a U.S. citizen.
It's unclear whether the death was accidental, a homicide or a suicide - his remains were too deteriorated.
The agents released some additional details. They think he may have been staying at the Breakers Motel in the Ocean View section of Norfolk. He was found with a rap music tape titled "Ill Style Live " in a pocket.
He probably stood between 5 feet 10 inches and 6 feet 1 inch tall.
Burke said the man's teeth showed dental work, including filled cavities and healed extractions.
Kate Wiltrout, (757) 446-2629, firstname.lastname@example.org
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