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UNIDENTIFIED

Clinton bones have no name

Posted on December 6, 2021

Local newsUnidentified
Anyone with information about the man whose bones were found scattered in a roadside ditch in December 1979 is asked to call the Clinton Police Department at 910-592-3105.

Contributed photo

Anyone with information about the man whose bones were found scattered in a roadside ditch in December 1979 is asked to call the Clinton Police Department at 910-592-3105.

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

CLINTON — Authorities have never put a name to human remains discovered 42 years ago, bones scattered over a 100-yard area in a ditch along a rural Sampson County road.

The original incident reports in the case can’t be located, according to information from the Doe Network, a volunteer-run international clearinghouse for unidentified and missing person cases.

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.

The remains — found Dec. 7, 1979 — belong to a white man believed to be 50 or older at the time of his death. The man stood 5 feet, 8 inches to 5 feet, 9 inches tall with an unknown weight, hair and eye color.

Possible identifiers include the left femur, which has an intertrochanteric fracture with a stainless steel surgical plate installed. Intertrochanteric means between the trochanters, which are bony protrusions on the thigh bone, points where the muscles of the thigh and hip attach.

The remains also had healing fractures of the right ribs 5 through 10; healed fractures of the left ribs; and severe osteophytes, or bone spurs, of the vertebral column with body collapse of the vertebrae, according to his autopsy report.

Dental comparisons aren’t available due to edentulous, a medical term for lack of teeth. Fingerprints aren’t available. A DNA sample is available, but not yet submitted, according to the Doe Network.

The man wore an orange V-neck shirt with blue striping, a sleeveless sweater, green boxer shorts and nondescript pants.

The case is No. 1745 in the National Missing and Unidentified System, which lists the investigating agencies as the Clinton Police Department and the N.C. Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Raleigh with the autopsy number of 79-850.

Anyone with information about the case can call the Clinton Police Department at 910-592-3105.

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