Lawrence County Cold Case Resurfaces After Use Of New Technology

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Authorities say there’s been renewed interest in a South Dakota cold case thanks to some new technology from the FBI. They’re using 3D facial approximation in the hopes that someone identifies a man who authorities believe was murdered 16 years ago.

Authorities believe the homicide occurred back in the fall of 1999, but it wasn’t until early 2000 that the skeletal remains of a man were found in a rural area in Lawrence County.

South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley said, “It’s been 15 years and we’re still looking to identify the victim.”

On February 19, 2000, a trapper found his remains four miles north of St. Onge, in a remote area under a two seven foot planks.

“The remains would indicate that the individual had been murdered, homicide, by gunshot wounds,” said Jackley.

At the time, authorities had little to go on. Based on the remains, they only know that he had an overbite and possibly walked with a bend because of back problems.

“We don’t have any dental records,” said Jackley. “While the individual needed to go to a dentist, he did not. We don’t have any broken bones that would indication that he would seek medical attention.”

They’re hoping a new technology, 3D facial approximation, along with a sketch, will help them find the answer.

“They determine whether there are any unique characteristics such as like a pointed chin, broken bones,” said Jackley. “They then take the skeletal remains, the skull. It goes through a 3D scanner. It then goes through a 3D printer.”

An artist then works with other experts to determine tissue depth to come up with an image.

“Without identification of who this murder victim is, there’s no way that this man whose been dead, murdered probably 16 years ago, will ever find justice,” said Lawrence County Chief Deputy Paul Hansen.

Authorities say the man they’re hoping to identify was anywhere from 20-25 years old, 5′ 7” inches tall, had dark hair and was of mixed racial heritage. They say at the time of his death, he was wearing a light striped jacket, Wrangler jeans with swimming trunks underneath and size 9 Spalding shoes.

If you have any information on this case or believe you may know who this person was, you’re urged to contact DCI or the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office.