A phone call to the Bandon Police Department, at 8:05 PM, August 26, 1972, opened a case for an unidentified person. A resident, Ronald Dale Whitted discovered the remains while pealing Chittam trees in a wooded area to the east of Highway 101 in north Bandon. Bandon Police officers, Franson and Hester responded to the scene. A call was placed to the Medical Examiner. By 8:50 PM, Deputy Sheriff John Dehart arrived at the scene, followed shortly thereafter by Coos County Sheriff Tony Zarbano and Bandon Police Chief McDonald. At 10:30 PM, the site was secured for the night, with Deputy Dehart, Chief McDonald, Officers Franson, Hester and Seawright resuming the scene investigation at 7:30 AM.
After carefully measuring and photographing the site, the remains were carefully bagged and marked. The site was then gone over with a metal detector. The remains were sent to the Oregon State Police Crime Detection Lab in Eugene OR. The forensic report dated August 29, 1972, states:
1. Victim is a Caucasian male, approximately 5'8".
2. Date of Death, approximately 3-5 years prior.
3. Age at death: 60 years to 70 years.
4. Unknown color of hair and eyes.
5. Cause of death; gunshot to the head.
A bullet hole was evident in the right temple area. A 22 caliber bullet was found in the cavity, and a similar one removed from the right frontal bone. No weapon was found at the site.
Personal items found were scraps of the clothing, 7" lace up men's boots, work type, tan with a tag reading "Bilt Rite, Nuron Crepe, Made in USA", the soles were white crepe, a belt buckled at 42". No other identification was found.
The victim had a full set of dentures, engraved with "S1214/66". It is speculated that these indicate that the dentures were made for a patient, in Seattle (S) by the US Public Health Service Hospital, in 1966 (/66) This could be the best lead to the victim's identity. The USPHSH is now closed. The hospital was established to care for service men and families. This leads to the speculation that he was in the military or Merchant Marine at some point.
Using the age estimate from the Crime Lab, John Doe was born between 1902 and 1912. He would have been too young for WWI. Since the draft was in effect when he reached age 18, he was probably drafted into one of the services. He would have entered the military between 1920 and 1930. Since the Great Depression came in the 1930's, he could have stayed in after his tour, or because of previous service, could have been recalled in 1941. He may have joined the Merchant Marines after service and served in that capacity during WWII. He could have been from 5'8" to 6', weighed approximately 180-200 lbs. Hair was probably graying, or gray.
John Doe could have come from anywhere in the country or he could have been a west coast resident. Perhaps his family moved to the west coast during the 30's from the midwest because of the Dust Bowl days.
This man has gone unidentified for over 31 years. Somewhere there is a family wondering what happened to their father, grandfather, uncle. It is time to find his family and to help his family find closure to a mystery they have lived with all this time. It is time for him to go home. If you have a half-forgotten memory of something you saw or heard, about the death or the person(s) responsible for it, help him.
If John Doe looks somewhat like a member of your family that has disappeared, or you any information about the dentures or the case, please contact:
Bandon Police Department
Case # 72-13
Web Page November 19, 2003
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