DeKalb County GA John Doe 1999

modern image DeKalb John Doe 1999


Investigators have named him Dennis, a well-taken care off little boy whose remains were found on February 26, 1999 in DeKalb County, Georgia. But they don’t know his real name or his official cause of death.

His case can be found in NamUs.

We know this:
  • the boy’s remains were found in a DeKalb County Cemetery off Clifton Springs Road on Feb 26, 1999 by a gravesite worker who was preparing the area for a funeral.
  • the gravesite worker found the boy lying in a field.
  • the boy had been dead for 3-6 months and his remains were deteriorated due to exposure to the elements.
  • the boy is of African-American descent.
  • Shirt DeKalb County John Doe 1999 NCMECthe boy was dressed as follows: he wore size 11 (medium) Timberland brown suede boots, the laces were tied with double knots, size 3 red jeans, and a long-sleeve hooded pullover shirt made of two different materials; the body of the shirt was blue plaid and the sleeves and hood were dark blue thermal.
  • there were no signs of foul play at the place where he was found
  • the boy was carefully placed in the field
  • due to deterioration, establishing the cause of death was not possible.
  • the best estimate for his age is between 4-7 years old. He still had some baby teeth. Note that NamUs places his age at 5-7 years old.
  • his height was between 3’10” and 4’2” and his weight was approx. 45-50lbs.
  • In this article it says that “toxicology reports found acetaminophen and anti-nausea medicine” in his system.
Older image DeKalb John Doe 1999Homicide or death by natural causes?

Nobody has ever claimed the boy’s remains or given exact details about the circumstances of his death. Authorities wondered if the boy had died after an illness and that placing him in the field was maybe the only alternative the family had as burials are costly or, it may have been an alternative to traditional burials.

There is every possibility that this boy died by accident or, of natural causes. If we decriminalize his case e.g. make it clear that nobody who tips police to his true identity will be arrested as a suspect to murder, we might be able to get people to talk. You have no idea how intimidating it can be for some people just to talk to police about anything.

As we cannot prove a death by homicide we cannot exclude a death by natural causes and that needs to be explored. As such, it should be posted in the media that no immediate foul play is suspected.


If preserved the laces should be examined with the M-Vac. In fact, all his clothes should be examined with modern technology.

Through careful examination of his bones and teeth, the authorities think the child was born and raised in either Georgia or Northern Florida.

Interesting detail:”A distraught woman called investigators to state the name of the child was “Cabel Brown” and the family had visited Florida on a regular basis; the call disconnected shortly afterward. The call was traced to Cocoa Beach at the Florida Institute of Technology’s student center.” I wonder whether the boy became sick during a trip by car (anti-nausea medicine found in his stomach was maybe given for car-sickness), he was given acetaminophen (found in his stomach) to maybe reduce fever and combat pain, but he passed away before they reached a hospital.


modern frontal image DeKalb John Doe 1999The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) released a new forensic sketch of the boy using the latest technology to produce the best possible likeness of the child.

Please share it online and let’s hope it triggers a memory with someone who can help give this boy back his real name.

Significant differences in imaging

There are significant differences between the images from NamUs dated December 16, 2011 and the modern one from the NCMEC.

1: the position of the ears: in the older version they are more rounded with his right ear slightly higher than his left. In the modern version his ears are at the same level and slightly more pointed up and out.

2: The lips in the modern version are fuller and more turned up and out than in the older model.

3: The teeth show more unique characteristics in the original model than in the modern one which feels more generic.

4: In the modern version his nose point is more up than in the older one.

5: the shape of the eyes are more wide and open in the modern version than in the original.

6: the head in the modern version is more rounded, oval-shaped than in the original. There the head is more in an upside-down pear shape.

7: the hairline is more rounded in the older version than in the modern one.

Contact information

If you have any information please call the DeKalb County Medical Examiner’s Office at 404-508-3500. Tipsters who wish to remain anonymous can call the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-THE-LOST (800-843-5678).