A decomposed body found in a Southern California canyon more than two decades ago may not have a name yet but at least he has a face.
The remains were found in a wilderness area of Trabuco Canyon in December 1996, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department said in a Tuesday news release.
"At the time, it was estimated the remains had been there up to two years, with environmental factors affecting their condition,” they noted.
The victim has been determined to be male, either Caucasian or Hispanic with an age range between 14 to 25 years old, according to forensic anthropologists. He had reddish or sandy-brown hair, stood between 5'2" to 5'8" and had teeth which were in poor condition.
While homicide investigators responded to the scene, it has not yet been determined how the victim died.
Orange County Sheriff’s Department in conjunction with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has utilized reconstruction technology to put together a sketch of the victim.
He is known, like so many unidentified bodies, as only ”John Doe.”
“Over the years, there have been occasional leads to who he might be, yet he has not gotten his name back,” Kelly Keyes, Orange County's supervising deputy coroner, said in the news release. “As with all of our unidentified cases, which date back to the 1950s and includes nearly 100 cases, we continue to review these cases with the hope that John Doe will finally get a name.”
Various missing persons have been ruled out since the discovery of the remains. Keyes hopes that someone will recognize the sketch and that such recognition could lead to a positive identification.
"Sometimes seeing a picture can spark a memory and that could lead to information," she said, adding that she hopes closure can be brought to the victim's family.
“This is someone’s child,” she emphasized to KCAL-TV in Los Angeles.
Anyone with information is urged to call the Orange County Coroner Division at 714-647-7000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The reference case number is 96-07901-MU
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