Ode to Doe: Etowah County John Doe


On May 29, 1998, the skeleton remains of a black male were found by fishermen in the Coosa River in Gadsden, Etowah County, Alabama. He was aged between seventeen and twenty-one at the time of death, and had been 5’6″ to five 5’8″ tall. Forensic reconstruction of the skull was performed to aid identification, however the jawline is only an approximation as the victims lower jaw has never been found. The remaining upper teeth showed no evidence of fillings, possibly indicating a lack of dental care when alive. Additionally, some of the teeth had been fractured before death. Likely by using them as a tool, such as to open a bottle. No clothes, jeweler, or belongings were found on his person. Multiple bullet wounds to the skull, and stab wounds to the sacrum and right hipbone as well as evidence of burning lead to the assumption of foul play. The composite featured above was created by a NCMEC Forensic Artist and is a facial reconstruction of what the victim may have looked like prior to his death.


  • Agency Case Number: UT99-11F; NCMEC: 1184067
  • NCIC Case Number: U920020921
  • NamUs Case Number: UP #2758
  • Former Hot Case Number: 1331

Anyone with any information regarding the identity of the young man, or anything pertaining to the case, is encouraged to contact  the Gadsden Police Department at 1-256-549-4500. Or email mailto:mglad23@comcast.net.



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