Hermantown John Doe Case Gets New Life

By KBJR News 1

May 9, 2012 Updated May 9, 2012 at 6:17 PM CDT

Hermantown, MN (Northlands NewsCenter)
-- Northland Authorities are looking for your help in cracking a cold case that could date back as far as back fifty years ago.

An unidentified body, found in Hermantown 36 years ago, now has police opening up the books to try to give a John Doe a proper burial.

Driving on Lavaque Road in Hermantown, people often pass the 3900th block where, in 1976 Hemantown police found the body of a man they have not been able to identify.

Only skeletal remains were found back then and the case went cold.

Cold until the St. Louis County Medical Examiner's office recently started going over old cases and found some new information on this John Doe.

Deputy Police Chief Shawn Padden delivered this information.

"It was determined that the age of this person at the time of death was approximately 30 to 50 years old versus the 70 to 80 years old which police initially thought."

After extracting DNA evidence, this is what police know.

The John Doe is a white male that had advanced osteoarthritis and walked with a limp. He had Dentures and was between five foot three and five foot eleven.

Objects at the scene also give some insight into his identity.

"Also located was a cigarette lighter, with letters on the base of ATC and lux Japan, as well as several coins, silver in nature with the most recent mint date of 1961."

Still, authorities say, despite all this information, the likelihood of identifying this man remain low.

Kolleen Kennedy of the St. Louis County Medical Examiners Office is the one that stumbled upon this case.

"The odds are not good but we are willing to give it a chance and because of DNA you can be a great granddaughter or grandson and you can find out hopefully who he was."

Any living relative could be a DNA match.

Hermantown Police are asking anyone who can help them connect the dots to step forward.

If you know about any missing persons in the Northland, between 1961 and 1972, that might fit the description of this John Doe, you're asked to contact the Hermantown Police Department.

Zach Vavricka

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