Did you know me? Kingsport police release new artwork in 2003 cold case

Rain Smith • Jun 13, 2018 at 4:05 PM

KINGSPORT — Police are hoping better technology and a new artist’s depiction will shed light on a 15-year-old mystery, helping them identify a man who drowned with an out-of-town bank envelope but no ID.

On Wednesday afternoon, the Kingsport Police Department released forensic artwork related to an incident from August 11, 2003. That’s when a Riverfront Park bicyclist called Central Dispatch about a suspicious object floating in the Holston River, near the 1800 block of Netherland Inn Road.

Responding officers were soon approached by another individual who had seen the same object the previous morning. The Kingsport Fire Department’s Swiftwater Rescue Team then entered the river to recover the item and found it to be human remains in an advanced state of decomposition.

Police report that subsequent investigation at Holston Valley Medical Center and East Tennessee State University’s Quillen College of Medicine determined the remains had been in the water for seven to 10 days. No signs of trauma or foul play were discovered and the probable cause of death was listed as drowning. The University of Tennessee’s Forensic Anthropology Department in Knoxville has also worked on the case.

The victim was believed to have been a white male with gray or partly gray hair, approximately 40 to 80 years old, standing 6 feet tall and weighing 180 pounds. He was wearing 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.

Investigators found no form of identification on the body, but there was a BB&T bank envelope with $267 in cash. Kingsport police report that at the time, there were no BB&T locations in Kingsport. The closest branches were in Saltville and Chilhowie, Va., along with Sevierville, Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg.

Several years ago, a clay model depicting the man’s features was released to the public, and the case was listed by the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs). Local investigators say the efforts generated several leads, but each has been thoroughly investigated and exhausted.

Now, thanks to advancements in forensic science, KPD detectives have received a new forensic artist’s interpretation of the man at the time of his death. The artwork was completed and donated by Catyana Falsetti, who is a forensic artist with Project EDAN (Everyone Deserves a Name).

Anyone who recognizes the rendition, or has any other potential information about the case, is asked to call Kingsport police at (423) 229-9429 or (423) 246-9111. Police say that all tips and leads will be greatly appreciated and thoroughly investigated.

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