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UNIDENTIFIED

Crash victim has been ‘John Doe’ since 2002

Posted on June 20, 2021

Updated on June 21, 2021

Local news
This unidentified man died in early August 2002 as a pedestrian struck by a tractor-trailer in Fayetteville. The Fayetteville Police Department has circulated this photograph-accurate computer-aided artist rendering in an attempt to identify the man.

Contributed photo

This unidentified man died in early August 2002 as a pedestrian struck by a tractor-trailer in Fayetteville. The Fayetteville Police Department has circulated this photograph-accurate computer-aided artist rendering in an attempt to identify the man.

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

Click the hyperlinked text below to read previous installments:

 Dozens of bodies found across NC remain mysteries

 'Baby John Nash' killing remains unsolved

 Drowning victim remains unknown

 Man who stepped in front of train still unknown 

 Body dumped on interstate remains mystery 

 Few clues found in skeleton case 

 Tattoo may hold key clue in unsolved homicide 

 Unknown woman stabbed to death 

 Few clues in unknown homeless man's death 

 A decade after bones found, woman's identity remains mystery 

Skeleton with shotgun wounds all but forgotten 

lkay@springhopeenterprise.com | 252-265-8117

FAYETTEVILLE —  In the middle of a heated argument, a man stepped onto a busy street and into the path of an oncoming 18-wheeler, dying an hour later in a hospital and remaining a John Doe for nearly two decades.

Listed as being transient in a death investigation report this newspaper obtained, the white man in his 40s to 50s argued with clerks at a convenience store on Fayetteville’s Grove Street at 2:40 p.m. Aug. 3, 2002.

“He became upset because some items he had stashed there were missing,” according to the report filed by Clair Hudson, a medical examiner for Cumberland County at the time.

Angry when he left the store, the unknown man tried to cross the street when a tractor-trailer hit him.

“He was found in the curbside lane with his head near the curb,” the report states.

Emergency responders brought the unknown transient to Cape Fear Valley Medical Center where a doctor pronounced him dead at 3:45 p.m. His cause of death is listed as a skull fracture and other blunt-force trauma.

The unknown transient hadn’t been drinking alcohol at the time of his death, according to a toxicology report that found no ethanol in his blood.

Whether washed ashore, unearthed in shallow graves, stumbled upon in the woods, discovered in abandoned houses, killed on busy roads or located in rivers, ponds and along railroad tracks, more than 120 bodies remain unidentified in North Carolina. This is one of their stories.

Detectives with the Fayetteville Police Department have tried unsuccessfully over the years to identify the unknown transient. Efforts included the circulation of a photograph-accurate computer-aided artist rendering of the man.

The unknown transient stood 5 feet, 7 inches tall and weighed 165 pounds. He had short to balding brown hair with a graying mustache and chin stubble. His eyes were blue.

He had a 3-inch surgery scar on his lower left side and a 4-inch surgery scar on the right side of his torso as well as a 14-inch surgery scar along his lower hand, mid-back.

The man wore nondescript black trousers and a white T-shirt.

The unknown transient’s assigned case number in the National Missing and Unidentified System is 6263. The Fayetteville Police Department case number is 02-026967.

Anyone with information about the unknown man’s identity can call the Fayetteville Police Department at 910-433-1529 or Team Cold Case at 252-406-6736. A monetary reward is available.

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