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UNIDENTIFIED

Body in Robeson still unidentified 42 years later

Posted on January 10, 2022

Local newsUnidentified
This facial reconstruction image shows the likely appearance of an unidentified man whose skeleton was found in Robeson County in March 1980.

Contributed photo

This facial reconstruction image shows the likely appearance of an unidentified man whose skeleton was found in Robeson County in March 1980.

Unidentified is a weekly series examining the more than 120 cases of unidentified human remains discovered in North Carolina. News Editor Lindell J. Kay produces each installment for The Enterprise of Spring Hope and other Restoration NewsMedia newspapers.

Click here to read previous installments in the series, along with case updates and additional resources, on Kay's Unidentified blog.

lkay@springhopeenterprise.com | 252-265-8117

ROWLAND — Not much is known about a skeleton found in the Robeson County woods more than four decades ago except that the man visited a motel and wore a turtleneck — and that someone killed him.

The remains of the man who wore a size 18 white turtleneck were found in the woods off U.S. 301 about 4 miles north of Rowland.

Evidence located at the scene included items from a Ramada Inn roughly 10 miles to the north in Lumberton, according to archived news reports that list the man’s cause of death as homicide.

The remains were found March 20, 1980, with an estimated date of death between 1979 and 1980.

The man in the turtleneck was white, between around 23 and 35 years old. He stood 5 feet, 5 inches tall with an unknown weight, but he probably had a slight to medium build. His eye color is unknown. He had long, light brown hair, although a reconstruction shows him with short, dark hair.

Washed ashore, unearthed in shallow graves, stumbled upon in the woods, discovered in abandoned houses, killed on busy roads and located in rivers, ponds and along railroad tracks, more than 100 bodies remain unidentified in North Carolina. This is one of their stories.

Beside the turtleneck, the man wore a cotton undershirt, size 38; a navy blue T-shirt, size 18, jeans, size 30; white thermal underwear, size 34; and briefs, size 30. He had a white handkerchief in his pocket.

Dental information is available as a possible identifier. The man had mild periodontal disease with restorations to several teeth. Teeth No. 16 and No. 17 were missing after death. All dental work appears to have been done by a single dentist within a year or so prior to death, according to information from the Doe Network, a volunteer-run international clearinghouse for unidentified and missing persons.

The man’s fingerprints are not available, but mtDNA and nucDNA are available for matching.

The man’s number is 2179 in the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System.

Ruled out as a match is Steve Arrowood, missing from Gaston since 1975.

Anyone with information in the case can call the Robeson County Sheriff’s Office at 910-617-3100.

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