Kingsport police release new artwork of unidentified person found dead 15 years ago

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Investigators in Kingsport say they need your help identifying a man whose body was found 15 years ago in the Holston River. 

Kingsport police say they hope the new forensic artwork will bring some renewed light to a 2003 unsolved human remains case. 

Investigators say on the morning of August 11, 2003, a woman called Kingsport Central Dispatch in reference to a suspicious object in the Holston River. The woman told police she was bicycling in the area through Riverfront Park along 1800 block of Netherland Inn Road.  Another person told first responders on the scene that he had seen the same object in the river the previous morning, but did not know what it was. 

The object was found about 20 yards offshore and about 75 yards downstream from where it was originally spotted. 

Police said the body had been in the water for some time and was already in an advanced state of decomposition.  As a result, the remains were not recognizable.   

Local forensic teams determined the body had been in the water for 7 to 10 days. In addition, they determined there was no indication of trauma or foul play, and more than likely the cause of death was drowning. 

The unidentified man is described as white, with gray or partially gray hair, about 40 to 80 years old, and about 6 feet tall. Investigators said the man weighed about 180 pounds.  

He was wearing at the time a white button-up shirt with blue and burgundy stripes, blue jeans, black shoes and a two-tone silver and gold watch with a black face. 

The man did not have any sort of identification on his person, but investigators said he the only clue that had was  BB&T bank envelope with $267 in cash found in the man’s pocket.  At the time, there were no BB&T bank locations in Kingsport. The closest branches were in Saltville and Chilhowie, Virginia and Sevierville, Pigeon Forge, and Gatlinburg, Tennessee. 

In 2004, anthropologists from the University of Tennessee created a clay model of what the man may have looked like. 

The clay model generated several leads, but none of the tips lead to a positive identification.  

The case is also featured on the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs).  

This new artwork, created by  Catyana Falsetti, a forensic artist with Project EDAN (Everyone Deserves a Name). The artwork was submitted to NamUs who in turn forwarded it to Kingsport detectives.  

The artist’s depiction is possibly what the man would have looked like 15 years ago. 

If you recognize who this may be, call the Criminal Investigations Division at 423-229-9429 or call Kingsport Central Dispatch at 423-246-9111. 

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