Investigator sifts clues in 5-year-old case for dead man’s identity
November 26, 2002
Among the many things time can supply, it can also provide answers.
Douglas County Sheriff’s Department investigator Rick Brown is hoping time can provide information on an unsolved case of human remains found in 1997 at Stateline.
On Aug. 4, 1997, a skull, three long bones, clothing and a stolen Taurus .38-caliber revolver were found within a 50-foot radius on the Park Estate across from Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course. A survey crew found them in a densely wooded area. Evidence suggests the remains are those of a man and could have been there since 1992.
Hoping to breath new life into the cold case, Brown is reaching out to news media and missing-persons Internet sites.
“I’d like to get it closed,” Brown said. “Somewhere out there this guy has a family and listed him as a missing person.”
In 2000, the remains were sent to the Faces Laboratory at Louisiana State University. A clay reconstruction of the possible face was made.
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Officials say the man was of Caucasian and African American decent, between 26 to 36 years old and between 5 foot 1 inch and 5 foot 8 inches tall.
Although the cause of death has not been determined, the gun had one round missing, Brown said. A bone missing near the sinus area was not caused by an animal, a pathologist determined.
The gun was stolen from the Forest Inn in January 1992. A couple reported it stolen to the police after discovering it missing while driving home from South Lake Tahoe.
Among the skeletal remains was a cigarette lighter with a Harrah’s Lake Tahoe logo, size 11 Air Jordan tennis shoes, a large green-and-orange University of Miami jacket and a piece of blue sweat pants.
An empty black Flight Pax backpack and a white Oakland Raiders hat were in the area.
Brown said investigators are assigned unsolved cases every year. The sheriff’s office has dental information, and Brown is working on sending the remains to the crime lab in hopes of receiving DNA information.
Unless crucial information arrives, he will close the case.
“It’s considered an open, unsolved case,” Brown said. “In a year or two, we’ll refresh all the stuff, put it out nationally, see if something comes up.”
— Those with information on the case should call the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department at (775) 586-7250 or Secret Witness at (775) 586-7295.
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