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PA BERKS COUNTY JOHN DOE: WM, 25-35, found in Appalachian Trail cave - 17 January 1977

Discussion in 'Unidentified 1900 to 1979' started by Akoya, Jun 30, 2018.

  1. Akoya

    Akoya Bronze Member

    [​IMG]




    The frozen body of the victim was found by two hikers in a cave below an area called The Pinnacle along the Appalachian Trail, in Albany Township, Pennsylvania on January 16, 1977. The cave where he was found is only accessible by foot.

    There is little documentation available for this unidentified man. Any photos, autopsy reports, possible fingerprints or dental records have been lost. He was buried in the Berks County Potters Field, however, there are no burial plot records available and his exact location in the cemetery is unknown at this time.

    The cause of death was suicide by drug overdose

    https://crimewatchers.net/forum/ind...ound-to-this-day-hes-still-unidentified.3844/
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 17, 2018
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  2. Akoya

    Akoya Bronze Member

    https://www.namus.gov/UnidentifiedPersons/Case#/5661/details

    [​IMG]

    Unidentified Person / NamUs #UP 5661 Male, White / Caucasian

    Date Found January 17, 1977
    Location Found Kempton, Pennsylvania
    Estimated Age Range 25-35 Years

    Case Information

    Case Numbers
    NCMEC Number--
    ME/C Case Number A-10-77

    Demographics
    Sex Male
    Race / EthnicityWhite / Caucasian
    Estimated Age Group Adult - Pre 30
    Estimated Age Range 25-35 Years
    Estimated Year of Death 1977
    Estimated PMI--
    Height 5' 10"(70 inches) , Measured
    Weight 155 lbs, Measured

    Circumstances
    Type Unidentified Deceased
    Date Found January 17, 1977
    NamUs Case Created July 28, 2009
    Agency QA Reviewed July 29, 2009

    Location Found Map
    Street Address The pinacle Appalachian Trail Kempton, Pennsylvania 19529
    County Berks County
    GPS Coordinates--
    Circumstances of Recovery Found deceased in a cave near the Pinnacle, a scenic outlook along the Appalachian Trail in Albany Twp Berks County.

    Details of Recovery

    Inventory of Remains All parts recovered
    Condition of Remains Recognizable face
    Physical Description
    Hair Color Brown
    Head Hair Description long curley brown hair
    Body Hair Description unknown
    Facial Hair Description full beard same type of hair
    Left Eye Color Unknown or Missing
    Right Eye Color Unknown or Missing
    Eye Description unknown

    Clothing and Accessories
    Category
    Description
    Clothing
    Leather buckskin Jacket, brown pull over sweater, dungarees with a brown leather belt, long underwear, cotton T-shirt, one pair black socks, one pair wool socks.
    On the Body
    Near the Body

    Eyewear
    sun glasses
    On the Body

    Footwear
    unknown
    On the Body

    Jewelry
    ring white metal blue oval stone
    On the Body

    Distinctive Physical Features
    No Known Information

    Case Contributors

    Joel Bonilla, Medicolegal Death Investigator
    No Agency Entered


    Terri Straka, Medicolegal Death Investigator
    Berks County Coroner's Office
     
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  3. Akoya

    Akoya Bronze Member

    [​IMG]
     
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  4. Akoya

    Akoya Bronze Member

    http://www.doenetwork.org/cases/1299umpa.html

    The Doe Network:
    Case File 1299UMPA

    [​IMG]
    Sketch of Victim

    Unidentified White Male
      • The victim was discovered on January 16, 1977 in Albany Township, Berks County, Pennsylvania
      • Probable Year of Death: 1977
      • Cause of Death: Suicide by drug overdose
      • State of Remains: Recognizable Face
    Vital Statistics
      • Estimated age: 25-35 years old
      • Approximate Height and Weight: 5'10"-5'11; 155 lbs.
      • Distinguishing Characteristics: Reddish brown, long and curly hair; blue eyes. Full beard. T-shaped scar on left side of chin.
      • Clothing: Dark brown suede/buckskin jacket with tassels on the sleeves and torso (size 38); faded blue jeans (Wrangler brand, size 30x34); brown leather belt; brown, knit turtleneck sweater (labeled Jules Pilch-Doylestown/Hatboro, size "M"); long winter undershirt and pants (size "S"), military issue with laundry mark B-0654; two pair of socks (one pair black, the other wool); brown leather hiking boots, ankle length with black Vibran soles (size 10-10 1/2); leather gloves; sunglasses.
      • Personal Effects: He was wearing a 14K white gold ring with a blue stone; his pockets contained a comb, pen, pencil, matches and $1.78.
      • Fingerprints: Not Available
      • Dentals: Not Available
    Case History
    The frozen body of the victim was found by two hikers in a cave below an area called The Pinnacle along the Appalachian Trail, in Albany Township, Pennsylvania on January 16, 1977. The cave where he was found is only accessible by foot.
    There is little documentation available for this unidentified man. Any photos, autopsy reports, possible fingerprints or dental records have been lost. He was buried in the Berks County Potters Field, however, there are no burial plot records available and his exact location in the cemetery is unknown at this time.

    Investigators
    If you have any information about this case please contact:
    Joel Bonilla
    Berks County Coroner's Office
    610-478-3280
    Email

    You may remain anonymous when submitting information.

    Agency Case Number:
    A-10-77
    Please refer to this number when contacting any agency with information regarding this case.

    Source Information:
    Pennsylvania Missing Persons
    NamUs
     
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  5. Akoya

    Akoya Bronze Member

    Appalachian Trail in Albany Twp., Berks County, Pennsylvania

    The Pinnacle, Berks County, Pennsylvania

    [​IMG]
     
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  6. Akoya

    Akoya Bronze Member

    http://pennsylvaniamissing.com/pinnaclejohndoe11677.html

    Pennsylvania Missing Persons
    and Unidentified Victims
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Unidentified White Male
    Found January 17, 1977 in Albany Township, Berks County

    Vital Statistics
    Estimated Age: 23 to 28 years old
    Height: 5'10" - 5'11"
    Weight: 155 lbs
    Eye Color: Blue
    Hair Color: reddish brown, long and curly
    Facial Hair: full beard
    Blood Type: O positive
    Distinguishing Marks: a T-shaped scar on left side of chin.
    Clothing: Dark brown suede/buckskin jacket with tassles on the sleeves and torso (size 38);
    faded blue jeans (Wrangler brand, size 30x34);
    brown leather belt;
    brown knit turtleneck sweater (labled Jules Pilch-Doylestown/Hatboro, size "M");
    long winter undershirt and pants (size "S"), military issue with laundry mark B-0654;
    two pair of socks (one pair black, the other wool);
    brown leather hiking boots, ankle length with black Vibram soles (size 10-10 1/2);
    leather gloves,
    sunglasses.
    Personal Items: his pockets contained a comb, pen, pencil, matches and $1.78.
    Jewelry: He was wearing a 14K white gold ring with a blue stone.
    Fingerprints: Available
    Dentals: Not Available
    DNA: Not Available

    Case Details
    On Sunday, January 16, 1977 two hikers discovered the frozen body of a man in a cave below an area called The Pinnacle along the Appalachian Trail in Albany Township, Berks County. The cave where he was found is only accessible by foot.

    His death was determined to be suicide by drug overdose.

    He was buried in the Berks County Potters Field, however, his exact location in the cemetery is unknown at this time.

    If you have any information about this case, please contact:

    Berks County Coroner's Office
    Joel Bonilla
    610-478-3280
    email

    NamUs UP # 5661

    Sources
    NamUs
    Lebanon Daily News - Wednesday, March 2, 1977
    NewspaperArchive.com
    Sketch completed by Pennsylvania State Police artist
    Berks County Coroner's Office
    Case submitted by a friend and frequent contributor to this site.
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2018
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  7. Akoya

    Akoya Bronze Member

    http://www.readingeagle.com/news/ar...hope-to-attach-names-to-bodies-left-unclaimed

    Monday April 14, 2014 12:01 AM
    Berks County investigators hope to attach names to bodies left unclaimed
    WRITTEN BY STEVEN HENSHAW

    [​IMG]
    Reading Eagle: Ryan McFadden | Dr. Neil A Hoffman, a semiretired pathologist who still does autopsies for Reading Hospital and has performed many of them in the past on John Does in Berks talks with Ddeputy Coroner Terri Straka in the Reading Hospital morgue.

    On a summer evening nearly 17 years ago, Robeson Township Police Chief Mark T. Phillips took a call at home from one of his patrolmen after two fishermen discovered a body floating in the Schuylkill River.

    The body was found snagged in some branches June 24, 1997, along the south bank near River Road, opposite an area known by locals as Robeson Crossing.

    Due to the condition of the body and its foul odor, it was evident it had been in the river for weeks, Phillips said. The torso was severely decomposed, and the head was just a skull.

    A pathologist determined the body was likely that of a black man, 20 to 30 years old, 6 feet tall and more than 200 pounds. No evidence of a homicide or anything suspicious was found.

    Efforts by Phillips and the Berks County coroner's office to identify the body through fingerprints were futile, and there were no reports of a missing man matching the description.

    The man's bones were stored in the Reading Hospital morgue under the name "John Doe."

    To this day, no one has ever called to ask if the body belonged to a missing relative, Phillips said. He figures the man was homeless - perhaps a drifter who came through the area and died along the river and his body floated away when the water rose.





    Chief never forgot

    Over the years the case fell off the radar of the coroner' office. In fact, the current administration could find no record of the 1997 John Doe when it undertook a review of its John/Jane Doe cases.

    That effort started soon after Coroner Dennis J. Hess began his first term in office in 2006. The goal of the review, which continues, is to collect DNA, fingerprints, dental records, and other information useful to police and relatives of the missing, to upload into a national database of the unidentified dead.

    But the Robeson case was rarely out of Phillips' sight. The brown accordion file folder hasn't moved from atop Phillips' desk since 1997.

    Phillips, who has been chief of the township force for 30 years, said: "It bothers me that there's somebody out there who might have a loved one, that hasn't been in contact with that person for years. It really bothers me we haven't been able to put a name to this person."

    The database, dubbed NamUs (Name Us), went online in 2009 and offers a quick way to check with coroners and medical examiners across the country if a missing person might be among the 40,000 sets of unidentified remains at any given time.

    With no record on file of the John Doe in Robeson, deputies at the coroner's office didn't know where to look for the remains so a sample could be sent to a lab for DNA testing.

    As it turned out, the remains were practically under - or more accurately, over - their noses all these years.

    They stumbled upon the remains in the morgue while looking for the bones from another case: an unidentified skeleton found by a farmer plowing a soybean field in Windsor Township, near Lenhartsville, on June 3, 1992.

    Those remains, believed to be that of a white female, 40 to 45 years old, have also never been identified. Although no cause of death has been determined, she most likely was the victim of a homicide, investigators have said.

    "The reason we were looking for Jane Doe '92 was because Ashtabula Police Department in Ohio contacted state police, and state police contacted us," said Terri L. Straka, one of two deputy coroners assigned to review unidentified body cases.

    "They wanted to do a DNA match," she said. "They thought it was a possibility (a missing woman from Ohio) was our Jane Doe from '92. So that's what started the search."

    Recent DNA analysis ruled out a link to the Ohio case, but it took a lot of digging to even get to the point where a specimen from the woman could be sent to a lab in Texas.

    Unlike the 1997 John Doe, there was a file of the 1992 Jane Doe at the coroner's office. But Straka could find no documentation of what happened to the bones.

    "I pulled the record ... and read the file," Straka said. "I read it six times and I said, 'I'm not finding out where the body is. There's no indication of a disposition. We have Jane Doe who was found in the field, and we have no record of where she went.'"

    Straka emailed former Coroner William Fatora, who was in office when both sets of remains were found five years apart, but he had no recollection of where the remains ended up. Deputy Coroner Joel Bonilla, who is assigned to work with Straka on the Doe cases, contacted cemeteries to see if the remains were stored in a vault, but no one had any clues.

    A few weeks of searching for information led nowhere.

    Other case leads to find

    A conversation with the pathologist during an unrelated autopsy last year provided the break they needed.

    Straka asked Dr. Neil A. Hoffman if he had any idea what happened to the woman. Hoffman had performed the autopsy on Jane Doe in 1992.

    Hoffman thought about it for a moment, then mentioned there was an unmarked box in the upper drawer of one of the morgue coolers.

    They decided to have a look and found the cardboard box containing a set of bones in brown paper bags labeled by black marker according to body part. There was no indication anywhere to whom those sets of remains belonged.

    "We got kind of excited," Hoffman recalled. "I then went to my file of 10,000 or so slides and sure enough, under the number Terri (Straka) gave me I found the slides' from the woman's case.

    At the time of the discovery, other items buried in that drawer caught Straka's attention: items marked "coroner" and "John Doe."

    "Following that autopsy ... I already knew I'm going to come back later because there are things indicating 'coroner,' " Straka said. "So Joel (Bonilla) and I come back on a separate day to log and see what else we have and we end up finding remains for a John Doe in 1997 for which we have no record at all."

    Hoffman said the coroner's office at the time probably asked for the bones to be stored at the morgue while the investigation continued. But years went by and the pathology department was never given further instructions on what to do with them.

    "We certainly do store things here," said Hoffman, who is semiretired but still performs autopsies at Reading Hospital. "This is one of the things we do for the county and have done for many, many years."

    Hess said it's unknown what happened to the record for the '97 John Doe.

    Today, all unidentified remains in Pennsylvania are required to be tested for DNA so the information can be uploaded into NamUS. Since the database didn't exist until a few years ago, older cases have languished.

    Hess said the shoddy paperwork and labeling of evidence is reflective of the overall mismanagement of the coroner's office during that era. Fatora, the former coroner, and two of his deputies went to prison for falsifying records to inflate the number of bodies they transported in their personal vehicles in a scheme to collect fees they did not earn. Bodies are no longer transported in personal vehicles.

    Straka had to reconstruct the John Doe '97 file for the coroner's office and NamUS.

    Luckily, she only had to visit the Robeson Police Department.

    "I called Robeson Township and the secretary said Chief Phillips had this file on his desk," Straka said. "I was so impressed with that. I said we need to come down and see what you have because we have nothing."

    She sent a sample for DNA testing to the University of North Texas Center for Human Identification on March 17. Even if no match is found, she said, the unidentified man's DNA profile will be available to police anywhere, as well as anyone looking for a long-missing relative.
     
  8. Akoya

    Akoya Bronze Member

    http://www.readingeagle.com/news/ar...hope-to-attach-names-to-bodies-left-unclaimed

    Unidentified victims

    Data about these unidentified people whose remains were found in Berks County have been added or are being added to the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System:
    • Jan. 1, 1977: White male, 25-35 years old, long brown curly hair and full beard; found in a cave near the Pinnacle, a scenic overlook along the Appalachian Trail in Kempton; manner of death undetermined.
    • Aug. 22, 1968: White female, 20-30 years old, 5 feet 3 inches, 125-130 pounds, brown hair with red tint; found near Route 82, Caernarvon Township, not far from the Chester County line; shot five times in chest and abdomen and once in left temple.
    • April 18, 1969: White female, about 21 years old, 5 feet 1 inch, brown hair; skeletal remains found in French Creek State Park not far from the victim found Aug. 22, 1968; police believe the two deaths are related and occurred at roughly the same time.
    • July 15, 1988: Mixed race, light-skinned female, 25-32 years old, 4 feet 10 inches to 5 feet 3 inches, dark brown hair; skeletal remains found in shallow grave in French Creek State Park in Union Township; cause of death undetermined but considered suspicious; death not believed to be related to the previous victims.
    • June 3, 1992: White female, 40-45 years old, 5 feet to 5 feet 3 inches, about 120 pounds, brown hair; skeletal remains found buried in soybean field in Windsor Township near Lenhartsville; cause of death undetermined but considered suspicious.
    • Feb. 15, 1993: Newborn white boy apparently born hours earlier found in trash container in Old Main at Kutztown University; cause of death undetermined but considered suspicious.
    • June 24, 1997: Black man, late 20s or early 30s, about 6 feet, more than 200 pounds, size 13 shoe; found floating in the Schuylkill River in Robeson Township; cause of death undetermined but considered suspicious.
    • Nov. 25, 1997: Black man, 40 to 60 years old, about 5 feet tall, 175 pounds; found in 100 block of South Sixth Street; wearing overcoat with fake black fur collar; black baseball cap with the word "Graystone" on it; cause of death ruled as drug overdose.
    • Sept. 25, 2000: White or light-skinned Latino female, at least 25 years old, 5 feet 4 inches, about 140 pounds, dyed or bleached blonde hair; found at Ninth and Laurel streets; cause of death undetermined but considered suspicious.
    • Aug. 21, 2001: Black female, 25-35 years old, about 5 feet 5 inches, 110-130 pounds; found in trash bag along Quarry Road in Caernarvon Township; cause of death undetermined but considered suspicious; death not believed to be related to previous victims found in area.
    • June 25, 2003: White man, 25-45 years old, about 5 feet 8 inches, 170 pounds, brown or reddish-brown thinning hair, full, close-cropped beard, left ear pierced; found by two people tubing in the Schuylkill River near Fisher Dam Road in Perry Township; cause of death could not be determined.
    Sources: Berks County coroner's office and National Missing and Unidentified Persons System



    Contact Steven Henshaw: 610-371-5028 or shenshaw@readingeagle.com.
     
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  9. Akoya

    Akoya Bronze Member

    http://unidentified.wikia.com/wiki/Berks_County_John_Doe_(1977)

    Berks County John Doe (1977)

    Berks County John Doe was a male found in a cave after he committed suicide in 1977

    Berks County John Doe

    [​IMG]


    Sex Male
    Race White
    Location Kempton, Pennsylvania
    Found January 16, 1977
    Unidentified for 41 years
    Postmortem interval Days - weeks
    Body condition Recognizable face
    Age approximation 25-35
    Height approximation 5'10
    Weight approximation 155 pounds
    Cause of death Overdose (suicide)
     
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  10. Akoya

    Akoya Bronze Member

    [​IMG]


    Kempton
    Pennsylvania 19529
     
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  11. Akoya

    Akoya Bronze Member

  12. Akoya

    Akoya Bronze Member

    [​IMG]
     
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  13. Mel70

    Mel70 Bronze Member

    I'm sorry, But that's a terrible Drawing. Who could tell from that?.
     
  14. Akoya

    Akoya Bronze Member


    The artist who did the sketch wasn't identified. It could possibly be a very good likeness.

    [​IMG]
     
  15. Akoya

    Akoya Bronze Member

    [​IMG]

    This image is very interesting. It is from the Reading Times newspaper. It identifies the sketch artist of Berks County John Doe as a State Police artist.
     
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  16. Akoya

    Akoya Bronze Member

    [​IMG]

    After studying the sketch of Berks County John Doe, I have found a possible important clue to identify him. Based on the sketch, John Doe appears to have long hair and a very full beard. However, he doesn't appear to have much of a mustache that would be more than probable stubble. Berks County is home to many Pennsylvania Amish people. The State Police artist has shown that this man is lacking a full mustache. Amish men usually have long hair and full beards, but they do not grow a mustache. I guess this sketch is helpful, afterall.



    https://theculturetrip.com/north-america/usa/articles/why-amish-men-wear-beards-over-mustaches/

    Up until 1916, British soldiers were required to have mustaches. And when the British occupied the United States in the colonial era, they were relentless bullies of the Amish (and other Mennonites in Europe). No self-respecting Amish man wanted to ape the facial hair of his tormentor, and it became a norm in the community to eschew mustaches.
     
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  17. Akoya

    Akoya Bronze Member

    These are typical married Amish men who appear similar to the sketch.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
     
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  18. Akoya

    Akoya Bronze Member

    So, it appears that Berks County John Doe was likely a married Amish man from a nearby Amish community. The construction of his clothing would have been an additional indication of his Amish affiliation, as well as his beard style. He was found in 1977. It is unlikely that there are any fingerprint matches to identify him. It's unlikely the Amish community came forward to claim his remains. However, his sketch has probably been very helpful to law enforcement and the Berks County Medical Examiner.
     
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  19. Akoya

    Akoya Bronze Member

    http://www.doenetwork.org/cases/1299umpa.html

    The frozen body of the victim was found by two hikers in a cave below an area called The Pinnacle along the Appalachian Trail, in Albany Township, Pennsylvania on January 16, 1977. The cave where he was found is only accessible by foot. There is little documentation available for this unidentified man. Any photos, autopsy reports, possible fingerprints or dental records have been lost. He was buried in the Berks County Potters Field, however, there are no burial plot records available and his exact location in the cemetery is unknown at this time.

    The cause of death was suicide by drug overdose


    The investigation found that this Amish man committed suicide. During the cold month of January, he went to a cave, only accessible by foot, and took a drug overdose. It is very likely that this man was being shunned or he was "in the bann". Shunning presents a serious social problem for a married Amish man. Close friends, family members, and an ex-member’s parents must participate in shunning. Most excommunicated Amish people are left to fend for themselves. Excommunication and shunning are decided by a vote of the Amish congregation to remove a member who has violated community rules. This is probably the reason why the man in the sketch chose to commit suicide in a cold, Berks County cave. It is probably the reason why members of his congregations did not claim his remains.
    Excommunication from Amish society is a brutal process.


    [​IMG]



     
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  20. Kimster

    Kimster Director Staff Member

    If this is the case, he will probably never be identified. Am I right?
     

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