BUNNELL, Fla. (WFLA) — Florida deputies have given new insight into identifying the victim of a four-decade-old cold case.
On Monday, the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office Cold Case Unit shared a new facial reconstruction depicting the victim of a cold case from 1980. The sheriff’s office said the victim’s skeletal remains were found on May 28, 1980, near a canal/culvert on State Road 11, about two miles south of Bunnell city limits.
When the skeletal remains were first discovered, the medical examiner and forensic anthropologists believed the remains belonged to a black male who was approximately 20 to 27 years old. He was also believed to be 5’6″ to 5’7″ tall and weighed between 145 to 150 pounds.
According to FCSO, the investigation revealed that the unknown man was a homicide victim. He was never identified and has been unidentified for 43 years. Police stated the victim also did not match any known missing person cases from that time.
After years of unanswered questions, the FCSO Cold Case Unit decided to submit the victim’s bones to Othram, Inc. for DNA processing in Dec. 2022. Nearly a year later, in Oct. 2023, Othram gave the sheriff’s office information that suggested the victim was mostly of African origin, with a smaller percentage of European origin.
The sheriff’s office stated in a press release that further information suggests the victim’s genetic family could be from the surrounding areas of Flagler County.
With this new information at hand, FCSO asked the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office Forensic Imaging Unit (PBCSO-FIU) to complete a facial reconstruction using the information provided by Othram.
PBCSO-FIU was able to reconstruct a new facial rendering that interprets how the victim could have possibly looked. The image is not meant to serve as an exact depiction of the victim.
“I want to thank the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office for their assistance,” Sheriff Rick Staly said in a statement. “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.”
Anyone with information or anyone who thinks this may be their loved one is asked to contact the FCSO Cold Case Unit at SScalia@FlaglerSheriff.com or email TIPS@FlaglerSheriff.com. Tips may also be submitted anonymously by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-888-277-TIPS.