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IL JACKSONVILLE JOHN DOE: BM, Teen, found in Jacksonville, IL - 11 October 1945 - Disabled, deaf, mute

Discussion in 'Unidentified 1900 to 1979' started by Romulus, Apr 11, 2019.

  1. Romulus

    Romulus In the earth of missing person

    496UMIL - Unidentified Male
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Image of the victim in 1945 and 1983; Headstone purchased by Mary Chapin Carpenter

    Date of Discovery: October 11, 1945
    Location of Discovery: Jacksonville, Morgan County, Illinois
    Estimated Date of Death: November 28, 1993
    State of Remains: Alive when located
    Cause of Death: Stroke

    Physical Description
    Estimated Age: Teens
    Race: Black
    Gender: Male
    Height: Unknown
    Weight: Unknown
    Hair Color: Black or brown
    Eye Color: Brown
    Distinguishing Marks/Features: Unable to communicate: deaf and mute. Mentally handicapped

    Dentals: Unknown
    Fingerprints: Unknown
    DNA: Unknown

    Clothing & Personal Items
    Clothing: Unknown
    Jewelry: Unknown
    Additional Personal Items: Unknown

    Circumstances of Discovery
    Police found a teen-age boy in the early morning hours of October 11, 1945, in Jacksonville, Illinois. Unable to communicate, the deaf and mute teenager was labeled "feeble minded" and sentenced by a judge to the Lincoln State School and Colony in Jacksonville.

    He remained in the Illinois mental health care system for over thirty years. Deaf, mute, and later blind, the young black man survived beatings, hunger, overcrowding, and the dehumanizing treatment that characterized state institutions through the 1950s. In spite of his environment, he made friends, took on responsibilities, and developed a sense of humor. People who knew him found him remarkable. He had a straw hat he loved to wear, and carried a backpack with his collection of rings, glasses, and silverware with him everywhere.

    Possible hints to his identity include his 'scrawling "Lewis"' and his 'pantomimed, wild accounts of foot-stomping jazz bars and circus parades.'

    He died after having a stroke at the Sharon Oaks Nursing Home in Peoria on November 28, 1993. Officials believe he was around 64 years old at the time.

    After reading a story about him in the New York Times, acclaimed singer-songwriter Mary Chapin Carpenter wrote and recorded "John Doe No. 24" and purchased a headstone for his unmarked grave. Award-winning journalist Dave Bakke wrote God Knows His Name: The True Story of John Doe No. 24.

    Investigating Agency(s)
    Agency Name: Unknown
    Agency Contact Person: N/A
    Agency Phone Number: N/A
    Agency Case Number: N/A

    NCIC Case Number: Unknown
    NamUs Case Number: N/A

    Information Source(s)
    The New York Times: John Doe No. 24 Takes His Secret to the Grave (December 5, 1993)
    Southern Illinois University Press Archives

    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 11, 2019
    KareBear, Mel70 and Kimster like this.
  2. Kimster

    Kimster Director Staff Member

    What a sad story! And still unidentified!
    KareBear and Mel70 like this.
  3. Mel70

    Mel70 Bronze Member

    It is. No one cared. He was someone's Son. I have a new found respect for "Mary Chapin Carpenter" for buying his Headstone.
    KareBear and Kimster like this.
  4. KareBear

    KareBear Well-Known Member

    This is a sad story. Even worse, research on NamUs has 0 (zero) missing black males before 1960.. :noway:
    Kimster and SheWhoMustNotBeNamed like this.

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