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Fresh look at old bones

Among the many things time can supply, it can also provide answers.

Rick Brown, an investigator with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department, is hoping time can provide information on an unsolved case of human remains found in 1997 at Stateline.

On Aug. 4, 1997, a skull, three long bones, clothing and a stolen Taurus .38-caliber revolver were found in a 50-foot radius on the Park Estate across from Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course. Evidence suggests the remains are those of a man. They were found by a survey crew in a densely wooded area and could have been there since 1992.



Hoping to breath new life into the cold case, Brown is reaching out to media and missing persons Internet sites.

“I’d like to get it closed,” Brown said. “Somewhere out there this guy has a family and listed him as a missing person.”




In 2000, the remains were sent to the Faces Laboratory at Louisiana State University. A clay reconstruction of the possible face was made.

Officials say the man was of Caucasian and African American descent, between 26 to 36 years old and between 5-foot-1 and 5-foot-8.

Although the cause of death has not been determined, the gun had one round missing, Brown said. A bone missing near the sinus area was not animal caused, a pathologist determined.

The firearm was stolen from the Forest Inn in January 1992. A couple reported it stolen to the South Lake Tahoe Police Department after discovering it missing while driving home from South Lake Tahoe.

Among the skeletal remains was a cigarette lighter with a Harrah’s Lake Tahoe logo, size 11 Air Jordan tennis shoes, large green and orange University of Miami jacket and a piece of blue sweat pants.

An empty black Flight Pax backpack and a white Oakland Raiders hat were also in the area.

Brown said investigators are assigned unsolved cases every year. The sheriff’s department has dental information and Brown is working on sending the remains to the crime lab in hopes of receiving DNA information.

Unless crucial information arrives, Brown will rest the case.

“It’s considered an open, unsolved case,” Brown said. “In a year or two we’ll refresh all the stuff, put it out nationally, see if something comes up.”

Those with information on the case should call the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department at (775) 586-7250 or Secret Witness at (775) 586-7295.

— Contact William Ferchland at wferchland@tahoedailytribune.com


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