SAN ANGELO, TX — Investigators with the Tom Green County Sheriff's Office say they are optimistic after receiving new evidence in a cold case that's over 30 years old.
"We're going on crime scene photos from 1987 and so you have what you have,” Lt. Terry Lowe, Investigator with the Tom Green County Sheriff's Office, said.
Based on the information from 1987, a man was found dead at the Twin Buttes Reservoir on November 15th. Reports say it appeared that he had been dead for five to seven months.
"In our office the case has always been known as ‘white socks.’ When the body was found it had pristine white socks on the feet and there's speculation that they body was dumped instead of him walking to where he was eventually found,” Lt. Lowe said.
That was basically all the information current investigators had to go on...until now. In 2016, investigators got permission to exhume the remains of this John Doe. They sent them to the university of North Texas Center for Human Identification as well as the FBI.
"With the advancement of technology and facial approximations the skull was sent to the FBI lab in Quantico, Virginia,” Sgt. Billy Fiveash, Investigator with the Tom Green County Sheriff's Office, said.
That approximation or reconstruction is what they received along with new information.
"They were able to narrow the time frame from 17 to 30 to 17 to 27 years of age,” Sgt. Fiveash said.
The UNT study also revealed that the john doe had spina bifida but it was possible he didn't know. Another defect was confirmed.
"The defect there was a hole in his head. Like a .22 hole in his scull so we thought there was a defect that the original anthropologist missed. It could have been explained that they just had their thumb over the hole because it's not noted anywhere,” Sgt. Fiveash said.
It was that defect the investigators saw in an original crime scene photo that began this whole process. Another key identifying feature that was caught in both the original sketch and the rendering, the placement of the man's ears.
"They do say that the placement of ears on somebody's head is almost as unique as your fingerprints,” Sgt. Fiveash said.
The cause of death is not known. If you have any information about this case, contact the Tom Green County Sheriff's Office at (325) 655-8111.