DNA firm to search for identity of man killed 42 years ago

Imagine wondering what happened to a loved one who disappeared 42 years ago.

One family still wondering may be related to an unidentified man whose body was found shot and partially burned Aug. 1, 1978 at Poole Knob Campground near La Vergne, said Rutherford County Sheriff’s Detective Richard Brinkley.

An autopsy report described the unidentified man as being in his late 30s who was 5-feet-10 tall. He had medium-length, brown hair with a receding hairline and a reddish brown and gray beard.

Many sheriff’s office detectives followed multiple leads without success in the open murder case.

Brinkley and other detectives have followed several promising leads but has been unable to identify the man.

Searching DNA through public sources is one of the ways Brinkley has tried to locate the man’s family without any results. A forensic DNA analyst informed Brinkley about Othram, a private DNA laboratory who recovers human DNA to solve murder cases.

The sheriff’s office is partnering with Othram hopefully to link DNA to the identified man. These types of testing can be costly. Othram needs $5,000 and $1,000 has already been paid. Brinkley hopes people will donate the remaining $4,000.

“Try to put yourself in the shoes of the family who is missing this man,” Brinkley said. “Your donations can help a grieving family get answers they’ve sought for 42 years,” Brinkley said.

The link to the case is http://dnasolves.com/articles/rutherford_county_john_doe/.

Brinkley is still actively working on the identification and murder.

Some unique features about the man include:

  • Scars on his stomach, possibly from a surgery on his aorta using a Dacron graft, a material to replace or repair his blood vessels.
  • No natural teeth with upper dentures about five to 10 years old. The dentures were believed to be “bootlegged” with “Solila-Vac” teeth.
  • A quarter-sized mole 2 inches near his waistline.

Family members of missing men who believe the information matches a relative or information about suspects may contact Brinkley at 615-904-3045 or at rbrinkley@rcsotn.org.

The point of working with Othram is identifying the man.

“There’s a mother, father, sister or brother who still don’t know what happened to him,” Brinkley said.

John Doe Sketch

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