ORANGE COUNTY, N.C. -- His bones were found on the side of Interstate 40/85 in Mebane in 1998. Now, forensic artists have created a 3D sketch of what he might have looked like.
"This has been a case that has always haunted me," said Major Tim Horne, with the Orange County Sheriff's Office.
Horne was on scene the day the body was discovered.
"It was shocking. It's always a tragedy, but more so the younger the victim," said Horne.
In fact, he is the last investigator still at the Orange County Sheriff's Office who was there.
"I actually could have retired July 1 officially, but I stayed on in part because of this case and another murder investigation I'm working to try this last minute, last ditch effort," said Horne.
Horne cares about this case so much -- the case file still sits in his office.
In it, is everything that's been collected. <"i still="" have="" some="" of="" the="" insects="" that="" were="" collected="" back="" in="">"i>
For two decades, investigators have been trying to identify John Mebane Doe, whose remains were found on the side of the interstate by a worker mowing the lawn in September 1998.
Forensic Artists at National Center for Missing and Exploited Children just released a 3D reconstruction of his face, all from a CT scan of the skull.
According to investigators, the boy was between 9-12 years old. His race is either Caucasian or Hispanic. He was around 4'11'' and had straight brown hair. He had no dental fillings but some teeth had preventative sealant placed on them to help prevent cavities and decay. He had a slight overbite and his upper canine teeth were high-erupting canines, commonly referred to as "fang teeth."
John Doe was found wearing Khaki shorts, socks, and black sneakers. A small amount of cash was found inside his pocket.
Chemical isotope and pollen testing revealed the boy was probably not from North Carolina but from Alabama or Georgia. Major Tim Horne with Orange County Sheriff's Office says this may also be consistent with his remains being found along the westbound lanes of I-40/I-85, because I-85 runs through Georgia and Alabama.
The testing checks for pollen on the victim's clothes, and pinpoints where a victim lived..
Horne says it's a *huge* leap forward.
"If we can ever identify who he is, it will make it much faster to spiral outward who was he with, where was he at where was his residence. All the things that help with a murder investigation we're still stuck on go," said Horne.
If anyone has information about John Mebane Doe or believes they know his identity, they should contact the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children at 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678) or the Orange County Sheriff’s Office at 919-644-3050.