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Coroner seeks help identifying deceased man

(The computerized drawings of the deceased male above include drawings with dentures, left, and without, right.)

 

On July 4, 2021, at around 6:26 p.m., a passerby at 720 S. Worthen St., near Hale Park, called RiverCom to report seeing a deceased subject floating in the Columbia River.  Law enforcement arrived at the scene, and I was called shortly thereafter to respond.

The body was subsequently moved to the boat launch dock behind Pybus Market where Coroner Wayne Harris could meet with law enforcement.

Based on the condition of the body, it was difficult to visually identify him, and very difficult to determine how long he had been in the water.  There were no external signs of trauma to the body.  Harris took possession of the body and made arrangements for an autopsy.

The autopsy revealed that he died as a result of drowning, and there were no other injuries or obtainable medical conditions that would have caused his death.

During the days that followed, a few leads were checked on in an attempt to establish identity of this gentleman, all without success.  Based on the condition of the body, fingerprints were unable to be obtained.  It appeared that he had his teeth pulled and thus possibly wore dentures, so dental identification was not an option. 

Since there were no individuals reported missing, it was highly likely that the decedent was a homeless individual, possibly living near the river.  Not knowing where he may have lived, we were unable to find any personal belongings that may have included some type of photo identification.

Harris worked with a forensic anthropologist to help with establishing height and age of the individual. It was determined, based on long established anthropological testing methods, that this was a Caucasian individual that stood about 5 feet 9 inches, with an age range between 51 and 83 years, with a potential of being around 64 years old, and an undetermined weight. There was a faint, undistinguishable tattoo on the front surface of the left forearm.

The cranium was sent to a forensic artist who likewise uses long established reconstruction methods to recreate what the individual may have looked like. Two computerized drawings were generated, one with what he may have looked like with teeth, and one without teeth.  This is just an approximation, but in most cases when identity is established, the drawing is very close to reality.

Harris is hoping by making these drawings public, someone in the community or in the homeless population may recognize him and it may spark a memory that he may be missing.

Harris also had a sample sent off to a private lab to type his DNA and hope that identification may come in that form.  DNA results are anticipated within a couple of months.

If you have information that can help identify the man, call the Chelan County Coroner's office at 509-667-6431.    

Last Updated: 04/13/2022 02:03 PM

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