On a warm day on September 22, 1990, a 14-year-old boy walking near a creek in Opelika, Ala., discovered the dead body of a young black man with a single gunshot wound to the head, the Opelika Police Department said. .

On September 22, 1990, the body of a young black man was recovered from a creek bed off Anderson Road, about one-tenth of a mile from Interstate 85 in Opelika, Alabama.

Opelic police station

For 33 years, investigators have been trying to identify the victim and hope that with new DNA advances and the public’s help, the time has come to solve this cold case mystery, Sgt. Alfred White of the Opelika Police Department told CBS News.

The victim was wearing six pairs of socks on each foot, a detail that White, the head of investigations, found surprising given that “it’s not very cold here this time of year.”

Police said he was wearing black size eight Ellesse shoes, a white St. Louis Cardinals red striped jersey and Jordache blue jeans.

The man may have been wearing six pairs of socks because his shoes were much larger than his feet, White said.

The man, believed to be between 18 and 25 years old, had no tattoos or a piercing in his left ear, police said.

An autopsy performed in Montgomery concluded the cause of death was homicide by a single gunshot wound, police said. The ballistics of the bullet, which came from a small-caliber weapon, do not match because the gun used in the killing has not been found, White said.

No missing persons reports matching his description had been filed at the time, police said. Investigators were following up on a number of leads at the time, but the case was soon closed, White said.

“He doesn’t appear to be from the area,” White said, adding that the body was found near Interstate 85.

Opelika, a medium-sized city in the eastern part of the state, is a 30-minute drive from the Georgia border and about two hours from Florida.

White added that Opelika was a small town, and even smaller in 1990, and said that while it has a high rate of homicides, “it’s rare that we can’t identify the person.”

Composite image of a young man unidentified for 33 years in Opelika, Alabama. He was found mortally wounded on September 22, 1990.

Opelic police station

Investigators are currently working to enter identifying information into NamUS, the national clearinghouse for missing and unclaimed persons, White said. Investigators are currently working to solve three cold cases in Opelika, he added.

Police hope to use the same methods they used to solve the “Apelika Jane Doe” cold case, believed to be a black girl between the ages of 4 and 7 whose body was found in January 2012 in Apelika. news release at DNAsolves.com.

Investigators used DNA analysis and genetic genealogy to identify her last year as Amore Joveah Wiggins, the release said.

Last January, the girl’s father and stepmother, Lamar and Ruth Wickerstaff, were arrested in Jacksonville, Florida, according to the release. Lamar Wickerstaff was charged with murder, and Ruth was charged with failure to report a missing child.

Investigators found that Wiggins had never attended school or been reported missing, the report said, and they believe she was killed in 2010 or 2011.

People with any information on this case or the identity of the victim are asked to contact the Opelika Police Detective Division at 334-705-5220 or the Secret Witness Hotline at 334-745-8665.


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