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Coquitlam RCMP need help solving 20-year-old mystery

Last Updated Jul 12, 2018 at 3:23 pm PDT

A composite sketch of a man who was found dead near the Port Couqitlam Cemetery in 1998. He has not been identified. (Source: Coquitlam RCMP

Man's body was found on July 2, 1998; forensic anthropologist believes died up to 10 years before

COQUITLAM (NEWS 1130) – He was found in the woods 20 years ago and police still don’t know who he was. Mounties in Coquitlam are renewing a call for any tips that could help them identify a man who was found near the Port Coquitlam Cemetery.

On July 2, 1998, a man’s body was found by someone walking their dog along Oxford Street.

“[The remains] had been there for quite some time, perhaps between two and 10 years. So, this gentleman has been missing a very long time,” explains Cpl. Michael McLaughlin.

A DNA profile and a composite drawing were created.

“Still, we’ve been unable to link up with the man’s family. We’d really like to return him. That’s why we’re asking for the public’s help,” says McLaughlin.

What they do know is the man was between 35 and 50 years old when he died. He was between 5’6″ and 6’0″, and was of mixed Caucasian/First Nations ancestry. He was wearing blue dress pants and the remnants of a red t-shirt.

“Perhaps one of the reasons he hasn’t been identified is there is some evidence that he was homeless and perhaps transient. He may have come a very long way,” adds McLaughlin.

The man had some unique features. He had visible tooth decay and a missing upper front tooth, which was likely removed at least one year before he died.

He also had what investigators believe was a healed broken nose, which may have appeared crooked or slightly lopsided.

The man also had Osgood Schlatter disease, which is a condition that develops during adolescence and appears as a bump on the shin below the knee. Mounties note this is commonly found in young people who play physically demanding sports like soccer or hockey.

“It’s certainly unusual, in a case like this, where you do have a DNA profile and you have a composite drawing — you’ve got a fair bit of information — that no good leads have surfaced. But we are hoping that even 20 years later, this might key someone’s memory,” says McLaughlin.

“It’s certainly on our minds that in the age of social media, we can spread the message a little bit differently than we could 20 years ago.”

He adds the case will remain open until it’s resolved.

If you have any information that could help investigators identify the man, you’re asked to call Coquitlam RCMP at 604-945-1550. Ask for Cst. Michael Keller and quote file 1998-25600.

 – With files from Sonia Aslam