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Flagler County Sheriff’s Office use facial reconstruction for 1980 cold case victim

BUNNELL, Fla. — The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office Cold Case Unit is unveiling a new facial reconstruction in hopes of finally solving a perplexing 1980 cold case. The victim, whose skeletal remains were discovered near a canal/ditch on State Road 11, approximately 2 miles south of Bunnell, Florida, has remained unidentified for over four decades.

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The medical examiner and forensic anthropologists initially estimated the victim to be a black male, aged between 20 to 27 years old, standing at 5′6″ to 5′7″, and weighing around 145 to 150 pounds.

The circumstances surrounding the discovery indicated that the unknown male was the victim of a homicide. Despite extensive investigations, no identification has been made, and the case has lingered as a haunting mystery.

In a recent development, the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office Cold Case Unit turned to Othram, Inc. for DNA processing in December 2022, aiming to identify the victim. Othram’s findings, revealed in October 2023, indicate that the victim’s biogeographical admixture is predominantly of African origin with a smaller percentage of European origin. Additionally, there are indications that the victim’s genetic family may have connections to the areas surrounding Flagler County.

To further aid in the identification process, the Cold Case Unit sought assistance from the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office Forensic Imaging Unit (PBCSO-FIU).

The PBCSO FIU utilized the data from Othram and examined the skull to produce a craniofacial reconstruction. Sheriff Rick Staly expressed gratitude to the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office for their collaboration and emphasized the critical role of the public in solving the case.

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“I want to thank the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office for their assistance,” said Sheriff Rick Staly. “Now we need the public’s help to tell us who he is. Someone knows him. Let’s give him a name so his family will know what happened.”

The facial reconstruction is an interpretation of the victim’s potential appearance and is not intended to be an exact depiction. The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office Cold Case Unit is urging anyone with information, especially those who may recognize the individual or believe it could be a missing loved one, to come forward.

Individuals with information can contact the FCSO Cold Case Unit at SScalia@FlaglerSheriff.com or email TIPS@FlaglerSheriff.com. Tips can also be submitted anonymously through CrimeStoppers of Northeast Florida by calling 1-888-277 TIPS.

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William Clayton

William Clayton, Action News Jax

Digital reporter and content creator for Action News Jax

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