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UNIDENTIFIED

Few clues found in Mount Airy skeleton case

Posted on December 13, 2021

Local newsTop newsUnidentified
The work boots pictured belong to a skeleton found in the Surry County woods in 2017.

Contributed photo

The work boots pictured belong to a skeleton found in the Surry County woods in 2017.

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 quaint borough of 10,000 residents nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, is the hometown of Andy Griffith and inspiration for the award-winning Mayberry television show.

But the idyllic village isn’t as trouble-free as the 1960s fictional setting. The town’s crime rate is only slightly lower than the rest of the state, and a literal skeleton haunts local law enforcement.

Four years ago, family members walking their dogs in the woods stumbled across a skeleton wrapped in plastic.

The skeleton belonged to a Hispanic man in his 30s or 40s. No estimated year of death or time spent in the woods before being found is available.

Authorities are treating the case as a homicide since someone wrapped the body in plastic before dumping it into the woods, according to The Mount Pilot News.

The skeleton was found March 29, 2017, at a secluded site at the end of Lynnhaven Road off Old U.S. 601, just south of the Mount Airy limits on land owned by the Ararat Rock Products Co.

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.

“We have only a skeleton to work with,” now retired Surry County Sheriff Graham Atkinson told local reporters at the time.

The remains were scattered around and some animal bones were mixed in with the human bones, according to The Mount Airy News.

In life, the skeleton stood 5 feet, 1 inch to 5 feet, 7 inches tall. The man’s weight couldn’t be estimated.

Found with the skeleton were work boots, socks, swimsuit-type shorts, jeans, a black belt, sunglasses and a yellow metal ring.

Martin Trinidad, missing since 2013 from Forsyth County, has been eliminated as a possible match, according to the National Missing and Unidentified Person System, which lists the Surry County skeleton case as No. 60335.

Anyone with information about the case can call the Surry County Sheriff’s Office at 336-401-8900.

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