Forensic and Digital Facial Reconstruction of Stark County John Doe Released to Public
(CANTON, Ohio) — Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, Stark County Sheriff George T. Maier and Stark County Coroner Dr. Ron Rusnak today released a forensic facial reconstruction of an unidentified man whose remains were discovered in Canton on Dec. 22, 2001.
“He was found just a couple of months after the twin towers were struck on 9/11, that’s how long this person has been waiting to be identified," Yost said. "Somebody somewhere knows him. People loved him. We need to help provide them closure.”
In a first for the Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI), which created a clay model of the John Doe, a series of photo-realistic digital images also were generated in hopes of increasing the chances that someone will come forward to assist in identification.
The remains were found at 2931 Trump Ave. SE in Canton. They were completely skeletonized and may have been at that location for multiple years.
“I want to commend the Stark County Coroner’s Office, BCI, and the Attorney General’s Office for their collaboration in identifying new information related to this investigation,” added Stark County Sheriff George T. Maier. “We remain committed to pursuing all leads, no matter how much time has passed. We owe it to the victim to bring closure and justice to this case.”
A BCI forensic artist created the clay model at the request of the Stark County Coroner’s Office. BCI’s Criminal Intelligence Unit released a corresponding public bulletin about the case today.
“I would like to thank all of you involved in our continued pursuit to properly identify our deceased,” said Stark County Coroner Dr. Ronald Rusnak. “There are many loved ones that appear to have vanished. Please help us identify this individual so that we may bring closure to those who knew and loved this individual.”
John Doe is believed to have been a Black man between 21 and 44 years old and between 5 feet 4 inches and 6 feet tall. No clothing was recovered. Additional details such as weight, hair color and eye color are unknown.
After the clay model was completed, BCI worked with experts from The Ohio State University to create digital images of the reconstruction. This digital reconstruction allows unknown features to be approximated, including eye color, skin tone, and the color and style of hair. Additionally, for cases where the precise age is not known, the digital reconstruction can be aged.
The technology allows investigators to rapidly create multiple digital images based on the forensic reconstruction. Investigators hope that the facial variations that are represented prompt tips from the public that eventually help identify John Doe.
This new technology also was applied to a second John Doe case in Stark County. His remains were found on March 31, 2020, near an oil well site about 20 yards off Sandy Avenue SE in Canton, and a clay reconstruction was released on Aug. 3, 2021.
An updated public bulletin was also published today for the 2020 case.
Anyone with information about the John Doe cases should contact the Stark County Sheriff’s Office at 330-451-3937.
Law enforcement officers or family members of missing persons interested in learning more about the services provided by BCI’s Missing Persons Unit should call 855-BCI-OHIO (855-224-6446).