Despite possibly being the victim of a homicide and having one of the most realistic, artistic renderings on Unidentified Wiki, the case of the Essex County John Doe has yielded little in the way of results since his discovery in 1992.
The exact circumstances surrounding the body’s discovery have not been made readily available online. What is known is that on November 28th, 1992, skeletal remains were discovered in a wooded area off of route 95 in Newburyport, Essex County, Massachusetts. He was found just off the SB route 113 exit. An examination of the bones concluded that the Essex County John Doe may have been dead between one and five years prior to his discovery. This would make his estimated year of death sometime between 1987 and 1992. The county’s Forensic Anthropologist determined that the Essex County John Doe was a Caucasian male between 11 and 17-years-old. This was confirmed due to the fact that certain bone shafts had not yet fused, which occurs at about age 20.
Investigators initially believed the deceased was a runaway as he was found nearby route 95 (which runs from Florida to Maine) so it is believed he could have come from anywhere, including Canada. An examination of his teeth gave no indication that he ever received any dental treatment. The report also stated that he had an impacted molar which had grown sideways and out through the jaw, which would have been very painful. This could be an indicator that the Essex County John Doe came from a low-income household, a neglectful household, or somehow that he had been living a transient lifestyle as a runaway for several years.
He was somewhere between 5’6” and 5’10” in height. His eye color, hair color, and weight could not be determined. Nor could his cause of death. There were no obvious markings on the remains, but soft tissue injury could not be ruled out. The Essex County John Doe was found wearing a dark, synthetic polo-style shirt that had no label, size W32 L30 Levi jeans, an elastic waist band from cotton underwear, socks, and size 11 Reebok high-top sneakers. He did not have any additional personal items or jewelry on his person.
As impressive as the composite sketch is, more than one user of YouTube, Reddit or Websleuths have expressed concern that the photograph-like rendering might be hindering the identification process. The primary concern seems to be that the photo looks too old for the 11- to 17-year-old estimate. Luckily, the Essex County John Doe’s dentals and DNA are available for testing.
While the investigation seems to have been at a standstill for some time, efforts have been made to rule the Essex County John Doe out as being missing men in nearby states.
17-year-old Lindsey Ray Baker Jr went missing on June 1st, 1989, after attending a party and getting dropped off in the Bethlehem, Noth Carolina area by a friend. His case in currently being investigated by the Alexander County Sheriff’s Office (828-632-4658).
Joseph David Helt, 17, was last seen near Sam’s Point ice caves in Ellenville, New York on January 16th, 1987. After agreeing to go on a late-night drive with three of his friends, the car Joseph was driving got stuck in a snow bank a little after 3:30 AM. After failing to push the car out, the group decided to branch out and separated to try and get help. Joseph’s friends–John, Wade, and Kelly–eventually made it to safety. But Joseph has never been seen or heard from again. His case is being investigated by the New York State Police’s Ellenville Office (845-626-2800).
Kenneth Allen Daily was 16 when he was last seen on March 2nd, 1985. He was last seen in the area of Redmond, Washington. His family originally assumed that Ken left on his own accord to visit an old girlfriend in California. It was later discovered that all of his personal belongings, including his wallet, had been left behind. He has not been heard from since. Ken’s case is being investigated by King County Sheriff’s Office (206-296-0100)
Anyone with information regarding the identity of the Essex County John Doe (a.k.a the Newburyport John Doe) or his possible killer is encouraged to contact the Massachusetts State Police (978-745-8908). His agency case number is 92-12.