Breathitt County John Doe

On January 27, 1979, on a sparsely populated stretch of road in Breathitt County; hunters were out in the early morning snowfall when they discovered the nearly intact skeletal remains of a man.  He was around 230 feet away from the highway, still wearing a pair of size 38×33 plaid slacks, a brown, green, and white printed polyester shirt, black belt, and black oxford style shoes. Size 10.5 – 11 D with an instep built up in his left shoe. (An instep is the arch of your foot, so he more or less had an insert that raised to meet the bottom of his foot.) His wallet was still in his pocket, along with cash, but all of his identification was gone.

Near the body, there was a pair of bifocals and a cane. This combined with the instep means he probably had a hard time walking. Further inspection would prove that he had a healed fracture of his right ankle, was arthritic and walked with a pronounced limp.

Estimations put him at anywhere between 35 and 45 years old at the time of his death. He was six feet tall, Caucasian, with medium-light brown hair. He was more than likely of a slender build, probably left-handed, and had a thin nose which had been broken in the past. His teeth showed signs of nicotine stains and he suffered from ‘enamel hypoplasia’ which is a deficiency in the enamel of the teeth, that leaves them vulnerable to decay and damage, often the teeth can look dented or have pits in them.

Due to the condition of the remains, a cause of death couldn’t be determined. Authorities believe he had more than likely died 6 to 12 months before the discovery of the body.


I don’t know about you, but I’d really like to see a better composite of this guy.  The one I’ve included is the one that is on The Doe Network. It’s incredibly hard to tell very much about him at all using this picture.

If you have any information or any ideas about who this could be please contact the Breathitt County Coroners Office at 606-666-3800 ext 248.

UPDATE: I emailed the Kentucky Medical Examiners Office on 5/10/2018 asking if they would consider submitting this case to the DNA Doe Project. If you haven’t heard of them, the work they do is absolutely amazing. I haven’t received a response yet but will update if/when I do.

The Medical Examiners office responded:

“Thank you for your interest in these cases! Yes, we have received several inquiries about the DNA Doe Project. We will keep that in mind as a possible source for these cases.”

12/22/2019: Submitted case to DNA Doe Project as they opened submissions to the public as well as LE.

04/12/2021 – Submitted FoIA request which has been approved.

The Doe Network

01/21/2021 – no updates available.

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