Virginia authorities sculpt faces in effort to ID unknown dead

Remains found in Northern Virginia

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Police asked anyone with information to contact the criminal investigation branch at 202/610-8737.

The third bust represented the remains of an older white male, 5-feet-5-inches tall to 5-feet-11-inches tall. Fairfax County Police spokeswoman Lucy Caldwell said police believe the man was homeless.

A man and his dog looking for deer bones in the woods near Interstate 66 East and Route 7100 in Fairfax discovered them on April 6, 2006.

The man had a small Bible in his pocket and a broken rosary. He wore a brown leather belt, Lee jeans, a polo shirt with Kelly green stripes, Nike shoes and a windbreaker, Ms. Caldwell said.

Based on writings they found nearby, police searched in Denton, Texas; Ohio; Vienna; and the District for relatives but did not find any. Ms. Caldwell asked anyone with information to contact Detective Chris Flanagan at 703/246-7860.

Ms. Altholz said the facial approximation program is the result of a roughly half-million-dollar 2008 federal grant obtained by the chief medical examiner’s office in partnership with the Virginia Department of Forensic Science. It was extended in 2010 for another 18 months and funded with another half-million dollars. The medical examiner’s office has applied for another extension this year.

The FBI does not charge for the creation of the busts. The grant money allows the chief medical examiner to hire investigators to follow up on the cases, Ms. Altholz said. The forensic science department uses it to fund mitochondrial DNA analyses, allowing specialists to test the bones.

Ms. Altholz said families with a missing person should visit a police station and submit their DNA to the national database. She also suggested they visit the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System at NamUs.gov. The database compares unidentified persons cases with missing persons to create possible matches.

Between the facial approximations and NamUs.gov, Virginia has made eight successful identifications, including one so far from the sculptures, Ms. Altholz said.

“This works, it really works,” she said.

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