Originally created 08/30/97

Investigators still looking for victim's identity



Investigators know a lot about the man whose remains were discovered last week in a wooded area off Columbia Road - from the color of his hair to his shoe size.

But they still don't know his name.

State medical examiners have concluded the man had fine brown hair, was between 5 feet 9 inches and 5 feet 11 inches tall and was wearing a size 11 athletic shoe at the time of his death.

Investigators, however, are still puzzling over how he died.

"It's a possible suicide, but that's pure speculation at this point," said Columbia County Sheriff Clay Whittle.

A .38-caliber Derringer pistol found with the bones had one fired round and one unfired round in the two chambers, Sheriff Whittle said. The severely rusted condition of the gun made it difficult for crime lab technicians to recover those rounds, he said.

A gunshot wound is a probable cause of death, but there is no other physical evidence to support that theory or any other, said Sheriff Whittle.

"There is no indication of foul play, based on the bones," he said.

However, the bones do show other things, like the man's occupation.

Indentions on the front teeth indicate the man - believed to be 45 to 55 years old and weighing between 160 and 180 pounds - was familiar with a hammer and nails.

According to a state crime lab forensic anthropologist, nails held between the front teeth make distinguishable divots in the teeth.

"Those marks are consistent with construction work," Sheriff Whittle said.

The report isn't as specific about how long the remains - found Aug. 18 - had been in the woods near the Augusta Golf Teaching Center of Evans construction site.

He could have died any time from over a year up to five years ago, Sheriff Whittle said.

But remnants of the man's clothing - green pants, a cream-colored button-down shirt and a light hooded sweatshirt - indicate he may have died when the weather was cooler. "Maybe in the fall," Sheriff Whittle said.