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UNIDENTIFIED

DNA search underway in Haywood County case

Posted on January 24, 2022

Local newsUnidentified
This sketch shows what authorities believe an unknown man looked like when he died in Haywood County in 2004.

Contributed photo

This sketch shows what authorities believe an unknown man looked like when he died in Haywood County in 2004.

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

MOUNT AIRY — A partnership that solved at least four unidentified body cases in North Carolina last year is teaming up again to look for a DNA match to a man found dead in the Haywood County woods nearly two decades ago.

The N.C. Unidentified Project and Othram Labs are turning their attention to a case previously reported in The Enterprise’s Unidentified series.

A press release from Othram Labs includes information previously unreleased to the public: The unknown man found in the woods likely died from being struck by a car.

The malnourished man was found in a grassy area off Interstate 40’s exit 7. He was wrapped in plastic.

The man is white with black hair, brown eyes and a mustache and goatee. He stood 6 feet, 1 inch tall and weighed 123 pounds at the time of death. Authorities believe him to have been between the ages of 25 and 40.

“The cause of death is not confirmed. However, during the autopsy, the unidentified man was found to have several injuries that were consistent with being hit by a motor vehicle,” said Michael Vogen, director of case management at Othram Labs, which is based in Texas.

The man’s estimated time of death was within 24 hours of his discovery. Initially, authorities hoped someone would recognize him, but no one ever came forward, Vogen said.

An artist rendering has been released. So far, no one has come forward with information that can identify the man.

Othram and the Unidentified Project will use advanced forensic technology in hopes of identifying the man or his family.

A DNASolves fund has been created to cover testing costs for this case.

Anyone can contribute to the fund by visiting the shortened link https://bit.ly/33I3li9.

Anyone with information that could aid in this investigation is encouraged to call the Haywood County Sheriff’s Office at 828-452-6768. Refer to case number 6291 as used in the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System.

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