The Smithsonian to help KCSO identify cold case victims

The Smithsonian to help KCSO identify cold case victims

Posted:
The unidentified female victim. (Source: Knox County Sheriff's Office) The unidentified female victim. (Source: Knox County Sheriff's Office)
The unidentified male victim. (Source: Knox County Sheriff's Office) The unidentified male victim. (Source: Knox County Sheriff's Office)

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - The identities of two people who shot to death years ago in Knox County have never been determined. Now, the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. is pitching in to crack the cold cases.

The female victim was shot by a homeowner during an attempted robbery in 1987. The two men she was with told officers they did not know her identity at the time of her death.

The male victim was found shot to death in a wooded lot near Mascot in 1982.

The OUSS/MCI Stable Isotope Mass Spectrometry Laboratory will help narrow down the region where the victims grew up. 

Once a region has been determined, age-regression pictures will then be released to the media and law enforcement agencies in the hopes the individuals will be recognized by a member of the public.

This is the first time that the Knox County Sheriff's Office has been able to utilize this technology. 

Christine France, a research physical scientist with the Smithsonian, told the sheriff's office that the lab will perform the tests free of charge. 

"The Smithsonian is regarded as the nation's museum and we are privileged to work with federal, state and local governments," she said. 

Knox County Sheriff Jimmy J.J. Jones is thrilled with the collaboration. 

"I am very grateful to the Smithsonian for trying to help us close the files on these two unidentified individuals. Our detectives have worked tirelessly over the years to find out just who these people are. I hope with this new technology, we can finally give their families closure," said Sheriff Jones.

Very little is known about the two unidentified people.

The white female victim was shot in the head and found on June 1, 1987 outside a house on Jim Sterchi Road.

She had been picked up at a rest area near Bulls Gap off Interstate 81 by two men and taken to the house for what was believed to be a robbery. 

She was shot by the homeowner through the door. The two men claimed to not know her name when they were arrested. 

At the time of the incident, she was approximately 20 to 25 years old, 5'5" tall, weighing 100 to 120 pounds, with brown eyes and brown hair.

She was wearing an aqua-colored Miami Dolphins football jersey, light blue pants, and a silver link type bracelet. The initials "B.H." were tattooed on her upper left arm.

She had a scar on her abdomen, possibly from a caesarean birth or hysterectomy. Skeletal analysis revealed several healed fractures and other previous injuries consistent with a car accident.

The black male victim is believed to have been shot between March and June of 1981 and was discovered on January 12, 1982 in a wooded lot near Clear Springs Road and Mascot Road in East Knox County.

He was approximately 30 to 40 years old and 5'10". He was found wearing a blue pullover shirt with a half zipper, black colored pants, size 9D black boots with zippers, and red and white socks at the time of death.

Anyone with information on these cold cases or the identity of the victims is asked to call the Knox County Sheriff's Office at (865) 215-2243.

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