On Sunday, April 28, 1991 around 6pm, two hikers on a hillside near Albert Street, Allentown, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, found scattered remains of an unidentified man.
The remains were partially concealed by woods and heavy underbrush. The location was approx. 300 yards north of the Hamilton Street Bridge, near Canal Park which is on the eastern side of the Lehigh River, on the outskirts of what used to be the city dump.
A few months later, in July 1991, the unidentified man’s teeth were found. They were scattered around the area where his remains were found.
With those teeth and the skeletal remains, a clay bust (see below) and later a computer-generated image that you see here, were made. Despite those efforts, he remains unidentified.
What do we know?
The remains belong to an African-American man. From his remains we learned the following:
- Approx. age: between 30-45 years old
- Approx. height: 5′ 5″-5′ 8″
- Approx. weight: 140-160 lbs
The man was wearing jeans from the brand Lee, size 29×32. I do not know if anything was found inside his pants’ pockets. He wore two pairs of white/gray socks in red/white sneakers from the brand Brooks Unique, size 10.5 however, no shoelaces.
A multi-colored piece of fabric was found near the remains. It was purple/green/grey. Other fabrics found were orange and red. I am not sure if these pieces were part of any clothing that the man wore or not. Also found was a ball cap in white and blue from the racing team ‘Direct Connection.’
If you click on the NamUs link above you can find pictures of the shoes, the cap, and the fabric.
Fingerprints: not available as only skeletal remains were found
PMI: 1 year (Post-Mortem Interval refers to time that passed since a person has died)
The autopsy of April 29, 1991 was done by Dr. Isadore Mihalakis. His findings showed that there was slight deformity to the nose and the right side of the face. This led to the determination of blunt-force trauma to the nose and mouth about a month before his death. The injuries did not heal properly. It is impossible now to tell if that trauma was caused by accident or if it was the result of an assault. This man also had a prior injury to his right ankle. The cause of death is listed as “Undetermined by Unnatural.”
When this man remained unidentified after two months, his bones, some soil samples from where he was found, and carrion insects from the scene were sent to the US Defense Department.
Forensic anthropologist Dr. William Rodriguez III then made this 3-D clay bust. You see that bust in the picture here on the right. It shows the injuries to his face. The later made 3-D image, does not.
Dental Impressions: some teeth are available, but it seems that both his lateral incisors were absent prior to his death or, they were just not found. He had a large gap between his two front teeth.
DNA: This is not listed on NamUs but I wonder about this. Dr. Erin H. Kimmerle, of the University of South Florida Anthropology Laboratory, had received a grant from the National Institute of Justice. This grant paid for forensic anthropological analysis of unidentified remains.
In February 2017, this man’s remains were sent over for anthropological analyses as geochemical isotope analysis can indicate the area where someone was born and where they spent their life. This is determined by extracting samples from teeth and bones to filter the chemical elements and corresponding isotopes consumed by the man through local water supplies and food.
So, if his teeth and bones were examined, I wonder if they were able to extract DNA. A computer-generated image was made as well. As you can see, it differs substantially from the earlier made clay bust. It shows a fuller face and leaves out the injuries. The hairline differs and the jaw line seems more square (less pointy) to me.
NamUs states on this man’s profile that a ‘near complete or complete skeleton’ was found which makes me wonder whether we do indeed have a complete skeleton.
Isotope analysis suggests that the man, at birth and/or in early childhood, lived in the southern parts of the USA, either south Florida or Central Texas. Later, until he passed away, the man lived in the area where he was found, the North East or maybe the MidWest.
Also found near his remains, a 7 OZ beer bottle from the brand Lowenbrau however, whether it was his cannot be determined.
According to the authorities, the man most likely died where he was found. As of yet, there is no reason to assume foul play and the man was not a homeless person.
If you have any information that can help identify this man, please contact:
- Chief Deputy Coroner Ray Anthony III at 610-782-3426;
- Allentown Police Detective Ray Sannie at 610-437-7721 or,
- Detective Thomas McAndrew with the Lehigh County District Attorney’s Office at 610-782-3100.
This man’s Allentown Police Case number is 91-28009.
Until we know your name, rest in peace 1991 East Allentown John Doe.
In the series “Case of the Month” I highlight old cold cases. These posts are not an in-depth analysis and of course, more information can be found online and in newspaper archives.
We need to get these cases back in the mainstream media, to get people talking again, and if anything, to make sure that we do not forget the victims. Just because their cases are unsolved does not mean that we can forget about them.
I encourage you to share this post on your own social media platforms. By sharing these posts, the cases reach new networks, new connections, and new news feeds. Maybe one day these updates will pop up in the right person’s news feed. This may be someone who can actually help advance the case and that is my goal.