Thursday, January 17, 2008

Unidentified since death in 1981

I am going to use this as a “test case”. I had conversations recently with an individual wondering if we could put together a “local” website (i.e. for Illinois specifically) to make available information about unidentified Coroner’s cases to seek help with identifying them from the local public and police jurisdictions not in the immediate area (in our case, outside Lake County). This does make sense in that unidentified folks may not travel all that far before death and local folks may recognize them. Information could/would still be submitted to data bases like NamUs and the Doe Network, but a more local listing site could be helpful. That is keeping in mind that nationwide only 20% of Coroner and Medical Examiner offices regularly report their unidentified to the FBI National Crime Information Center.

[I am going to post one here to check the Blogger format and search capabilities as a test to see if this sort of placement would work. I will be considering other website deliveries as well.]

Case in point (in reviewing our older cases, this gentleman came to our attention recently):

This individual died March 5, 1981, 8:11 a.m., after being struck by a northbound freight train at the Deerfield, IL train station. He had no ID with him.

The individual was a white male approximately 60 to 68 years old. The individual was approximately 5 foot 10 inches tall and weighed about 195 pounds. He was balding with gray hair and brown eyes. He had a 10 inch abdominal scar from his sternum to his waist, as well as 2 surgical drain-type scars laterally. He had been observed to walk with a limp or shuffling gait. He seemed to have an inability to use his left middle, ring, and little fingers. He was also described as, at least somewhat, disheveled in appearance.

His clothing consisted of a white T-shirt, brown cardigan sweater, brown polyester warm-up jacket with white stripes, orange socks, and brown dress pants with brown belt and shoes. He also wore a gold-colored Hilton wristwatch.

“John Doe” was buried April 22, 1981, he continues with that appellation to the present.

If you have any information on this individual call our office (847 377 2200) or email (

If you are an Illinois Coroner and want to participate in such a project, let me know.

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