ID Man – Authorities are asking for the public’s help

Hennepin investigators hope to ID man found in 2014

Tim Nelson

ID man whose remains were recovered in 2014 in Rosemount, Minn. Authorities are asking for the public’s help. Artist’s renderings were created in hopes of generating new leads. Courtesy Hennepin County Medical Examiner

A railroad crew found a partial skeleton of a man in an abandoned shed beside the tracks. Investigators think he’d been living there, and may have been dead for as long as a year before anyone found him.

But even before they figure out when or how he died, or what he was doing in Rosemount, Minnesota, authorities first need his name. Now he is known only as #2014-4917, found in September 2014.

Shawn Wilson hopes someone will have an answer after they see a photograph of what Hennepin County investigators think he might have looked like.
“We reached out to the FBI’s anthropology lab and asked them to take his skull and do a facial reconstruction,” Wilson said in an interview at the medical examiner’s office. “They do that by taking these data points and these measurements that the anthropologist is able to determine. They can find his race, his ethnicity, [and they] actually recreate the depth of the tissue on the skeleton and approximate what he might look like.”

Wilson said the man was white, 30 to 50 years old with brown hair mixed with grey. He stood about five-and-a-half feet tall.

He had arthritis and probably had a broken nose at some point. Investigators didn’t find any tattoos or other distinguishing marks.

Wilson says it is very rare for someone to remain truly unidentified when an entire body is recovered — not a partial skull, or bone fragments or even less. Investigators, who have DNA and dental records, even know he wore glasses.

His remains were found in an abandoned switching shed. The railroad was preparing to wreck it and took one more look inside to make sure it was ready.

“We also have all of his clothing and property that’s been inventoried, identified and photographed,” Wilson said.

A case record in the National Missing and Unidentified Persons system shows he was wearing a leather jacket and a pair of ill-fitting jeans. He was wearing two pairs of socks, lined with newspaper dating to October 25, 2013.
Investigators even have an engraved knife, with what may be nine sets of initials carved in the sheath.

Wilson says he’s sure someone wonders what happened to their relative or friend, and may even claim his remains.

“Whether you die peacefully at home with your family or alone in a railroad shed, you’re still part of a family somewhere. He was part of a community somewhere. You know, it may have been a local clerk at the gas station who recognizes this picture. It may have been a guy at the bar who recognizes this picture and that might be the lead that breaks the case.”

If you recognize the person or his belongings, contact the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office at 612-215-6300.