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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Mystery in High Point State Park

The cars zipped along Route 23 as it wound through the trees of High Point State Park, not seeming to care about the precarious twists and turns. Others meandered along, enjoying the scenery that the park had to offer. Several miles to the north, Interstate 84 hummed with activity as people sped from New York through New Jersey and down to Pennsylvania. Little did these people know that just a short distance from the road, I lay waiting for someone to discover me.

And they did discover me, finally, on June 24, 1980. For the hikers who found me, a gruesome sight greeted their eyes. My body had been divided up into five different bags, and since I had been there at least a year, many different forest animals had scavenged through my remains. The authorities found my head, arms, and legs but no torso. Was that part of me dragged off by some animals, or was it never there from the beginning? Perhaps it held unmistakable clues to who I am.

As in many cases like mine, there is not a whole lot of information to go on – only a plethora of theories. The facts are these: I am a female between the ages of 13 and 20. They believe that I am Caucasian mixed with some other ethnicity, perhaps Hispanic. I was discovered on June 24, 1980, but they estimate my death happened sometime in 1975. My remains had also been in the woods for approximately a year. Where was I for the other 3 or 4 years since my death? I dyed my natural brown hair blonde, my molars have a star-shaped crevice in them, and the jeans I wore had a distinctive 8-count thread pattern that started at the right hip and ran down the left leg.

They take my case out every once in a while to review, but 30 years later they are no closer to identifying who I am. Since it’s possible I am part Hispanic, it’s possible that I am part Puerto Rican. Between 1950 and 1980, an influx of Puerto Ricans moved into the New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania area. I was found in High Point State Park off of Route 23 near the Wantage border in northern New Jersey. Is it possible that I attended one of the area middle schools or high schools in the early 1970s? The Appalachian Trail also runs through the park – was I a victim of a hiker on this trail? Another possibility is that my death is the work of a serial killer not only because of the dismemberment of my body, but also because of the difference in time between my death and my disposal. Was I even from New Jersey? Or was this drop-off site a convenient location from Interstate 84?

So many questions with no answers, but perhaps you can help. Did you attend school in the area? Pull out an old yearbook and look through the photos. Do I look like anyone? Jeans with details were pretty popular in the 1970s – do you remember a distinctive thread pattern such as what I was wearing?

Sometimes even the littlest detail that may seem insignificant can lead to a breakthrough in a cold case. I am hoping that someone out there will have that little detail, so I – as well as all those who are looking to identify me – can have a closure.

If you have any information about this woman, please contact

Sussex County Medical Examiner’s Office
175 High St., Newton, NJ 07860
(973) 579-7144
Morris County Medical Examiner
P.O. Box 900, Morristown, NJ 07963-0900
(973) 829-8270
(973) 829-8274 fax

Please view her profile data page here: Sussex New Jersey Jane Doe June1980

Monday, February 24, 2014

The Fourth of July Boulevard Crossing…Do I Ring Any Bells?

For the majority of people in the United States, July 4 is a day to celebrate and remember the day our country declared its independence. July 4, 2008, however, was anything but a day of celebration for me. It may have started out as a normal day. Perhaps when I awoke that morning, I had plans to spend the day with family and friends. Was I headed to a picnic to eat some delicious hamburgers and later watch a spectacular display of fireworks? Was I headed home from work? Was I even from the Riverside area or could it be that I was visiting from out of town?

Whatever my plans for the day had been, they fell apart the moment I decided to cross Allesandro Boulevard in Moreno Valley, California. Maybe I was in a rush to see my friends (I was, after all, still in that younger college age group from what they estimate). Maybe it was dark outside and the car didn’t see me.

After the car hit me, I was rushed to the Riverside County Regional Medical Center where I died a short four days later. Since they don’t know who I am, it is possible that I never regained consciousness during those four days.

Like so many others, I didn’t have any identification on me to tell the authorities who I was. All they know about me is what they can glean from my physical characteristics. I was wearing blue jeans, a tan T-shirt, and black shoes when they found me. I am about 5'9" and 183 lbs. I am a Caucasian male of Latino descent with short black hair, brown eyes, and a thin moustache. They estimate I was between 20 to 25 years old. The most notable thing about me, I guess you could say, is that I have a tattoo on my inner left forearm that resembles a swastika. There are many neo-Nazi and skinhead groups in California. Was I a member of one of these groups, or did I get a tattoo simply to express myself? Is the interpretation of my tattoo incorrect and it is something else entirely? The other fact worth mentioning is that it seems I concealed the tattoo with an armband. Was this an everyday occurrence because I no longer wanted to be associated with what the tattoo represented? Or did I simply cover it up because I had to be careful where I displayed it?

There are so many unknown facts surrounding my death. I am hoping you can help, and the authorities are hoping you can too. Please look carefully at my picture. Take note of the tattoo on my arm. Have you seen my face before? Do you recognize my tattoo?

If you have any information on this man, please contact:
Riverside County Coroner’s Office 
 (951) 443-2300
Case No. 2008-05067

View his profile data here: Riverside California John Doe July 2008

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Meet Our Team: Board Member, Mary Weir

On September 24, 2005, Samantha Bonnell got up during the middle of a movie and ran out of the theatre.  No one knew why, or where she went.  At least that’s the story her mother, Mary Weir, was told when Samantha’s boyfriend phoned her.  No one ever saw or heard from Samantha again.
Mary Weir tried to file a missing persons report with the State of Alaska where Mary resided.  Since Samantha had been traveling in California, Alaska would not take the report.  On February 23, 2006, Mary received word from law enforcement in Hanahan, South Carolina that Samantha’s luggage had been found.  With the assistance of law enforcement in South Carolina, Alaska finally took a missing persons report for Samantha. 
Months went by with no word as to where Samantha was or what happened to her.  Mary spent days, nights, weeks, months scouring over unidentified profiles and sketches, trying to find her daughter.  It was a task her family didn’t want her pursuing. Samantha had not called in over a year.  Mary knew something happened to her child.  Mary looked time and time again at varying images, but one in particular kept calling her back.  It didn’t resemble Samantha exactly, but was close enough for Mary to pick up the phone and call the coroner’s office to inquire.
After some additional confusion between law enforcement agencies, Mary forwarded her daughter’s dental records to San Bernardino County, California.  After the coroner viewed those records, Mary learned that Jane Doe #17 who died on September 24, 2005 was in fact her daughter, Samantha Bonnell. 
The disappearance of Samantha Bonnell is just one story out of tens of thousands. 
Mary knows that viewing forensic sketches is the last thing any parent should have to endure, yet it was a sketch that brought her to find her child.   With that knowledge, Mary Weir joined Can You Identify Me as a founding Board Member to ensure that there are properly educated Forensic Artists and attainable forensic art services available to coroners across the country.  She knows that had San Bernardino not employed the artist, she might still be looking for her daughter.  

May the spirit of Samantha Bonnell
always shine the path for others to find their way home. 

Thursday, February 6, 2014


The icy water of the Spokane River washed over me as I lay there, trapped and unable to move. How long had I been lying east of the Washington Street Bridge in Spokane? Six Months? Ten Months? A year? I couldn’t even remember so much time had passed by. I was hardly recognizable anymore. I don’t know the name of the person who found me on that Wednesday, but I am glad that they did. Now maybe someone will remember my story and be able to help identify me – I sure would like to know.

The Spokane River has a great and noble history – from providing food for the natives in the early days to becoming a source of energy and power for the City of Spokane today. For me, however, the only history the river holds is the story of my demise.

The authorities estimate that I died anywhere between six months to a year prior to when I was found on June 27, 2007. They are hoping that someone – maybe you – will recognize me and be able to provide them with a solid lead. But I’m getting ahead of myself. First, let’s go back to the basics. I am a 33- to 55-year-old male (possibly of mixed ethnicity) and anywhere between 5' 3" and 5' 6". I have a possible scar on my left eyebrow ridge because of an injury or fracture. The right side of my face also suffered a traumatic injury. My lower right jaw was surgically repaired and metal plates, identified as “Walter Lorenz” titanium plates, were implanted. My nose and right eyebrow were also healed from previous fractures. They say it’s possible that the injuries to my jaw, nose, and eyebrow could have happened in one incident several years prior to my death.

Since I ended up in the river, it seems pretty obvious that I didn’t die of natural causes. But how did I die? Did I commit suicide and jump off the bridge? Or did I die at the hand of someone else who either pushed me in or dumped me after I had already been killed? It’s also possible that my death didn’t occur at the bridge where I was found. The estimated timeframe of my death is anywhere from early summer to late fall in 2006. At least a winter had gone by since I passed away. Something could have happened upstream; with the winter snow melting, the rushing water could have moved my body down to where I was discovered.

Perhaps a clue to finding out who I am is in my facial injuries. Was I a boxer or involved in something like an underground fight club? Did I work in a manufacturing or industrial environment and suffer a terrible accident with a piece of machinery? Was I on the right side or the wrong side of the law?

There are many possibilities as to what could have happened to me. I am hoping that something in my story will trigger your memory and help to figure out who I am.

If you have any information regarding this man, please contact:
Spokane County Medical Examiner’s Office 
Case No. 07-1683 
NCIC No.U520022814.

View his profile page here: Spokane Washington John Doe June 2007

Monday, February 3, 2014

Meet Our Team: Board Advisor, Kelly Riddle

Mr. Kelly E. Riddle
Kelmar & Associates, Inc.

ΓΌ      Professional Experience Narrative:     Mr. Riddle has more than 30 years of investigative experience and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from the University of North Alabama.  He was chosen as the “PI of the Year” by the National Association of Investigative Specialists and the PI Magazine named Mr. Riddle as the “#1 PI in the United States”.  He has been designated an expert in surveillance, insurance investigations, nursing home abuse and computer investigations.  He was chosen as“One of the Top 25 PI’s of the 20th Century.”   Kelly obtained his Texas Certified Investigator designation (less than 50 in TX.)  Mr. Riddle is also the President (2010-2012) for TALI - the Texas Association of Licensed Investigators (TALI); Board of Directors (2007-2010) for TALI as well as being on the Board of Directors for the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas. Kelly is also on the Public Relations committee for the Council of International Investigators. He is also a Founding Board Member and Board Advisor for the non-profit Can You Identify Me organization.

Mr. Riddle is the author of 10 books and has published more than 40 articles.  He has been the guest speaker at more than 400 events and has been on national TV, radio and newspapers.
Prior law enforcement experience includes being a member of the SWAT team, a Training Officer, Emergency Medical Technician, Evidence Technician, Arson Investigator, Juvenile Specialist and Traffic Investigator.
Mr. Riddle is the Founder and President of the PI Institute of Education, as well as the Association of Christian Investigators with more than 1000 members in the U.S.  and 12 countries.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Meet Our Team: Board Member, Tracy Vega

Tracy Vega

Tracy Vega, mom,  wife, visionary, community leader and entrepreneur is the co-founder of Simple Self Defense for Women® an award winning company that promotes the personal safety of women and children with a focus on how to to prevent, avoid and ESCAPE an attack, threat or abduction.  Channel 4 WESH News calls her a guru of women’s self defense.
Simple Self Defense for Women® has been featured on The Marie Show on Hallmark, Lifetime television’s The Balancing Act, The Chelsea Krost Show, The John Tesh Radio Show, The Huffington Post, news affiliates for CBS, NBC and FOX, The Daily Buzz, GalTime TV, the Daytona News Journal, My Bliss Magazine, Power Women Magazine & Radio show, She Knows TV, & numerous others.
Tracy Vega has 20 years experience in marketing and working for fortune 500 companies. She is the winner of the 3rd Annual Power Women Magazine & Radio Show “Woman of the Year” award for 2012 and the June 2012 “Wednesdays’ Woman of the Month” for Every Way Woman Radio Talk Show. Tracy designed the Simple Self Defense for Women® PBS TV show ultra-modern TV studio and created the trademarked company logo. Tracy is an experienced martial artist who is also the business manager who is responsible for market development, contract acquisition and social media. She is a regular blogger for the company, Balancing Act on Lifetime television and a guest blogger for The Ricki Lake Show.
Tracy is the Simple Self Defense for Women® TV shows star, co-host and featured speaker to many colleges, companies, organizations and associations. Tracy’s professionalism has awarded her the support of many major corporations who are investing in the personal safety of women as clients and corporate sponsors which include American Signature Furniture, Vince Carter’s Embassy of Hope Foundation, State Farm, Halifax Hospital, Embry Riddle University, Bethune Cookman University, Ashworth Medical, Florida Hospital Memorial Center, Edward Jones Investments, Bright House Networks, University of Central Florida, Phillips 66, The Daytona Beach Police Department and numerous others. 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Meet Our Team: Board Advisor, Lori Bishop

Lori Bishop

Lori grew up traveling the world with a military family. She lived in Europe (England and the Netherlands) as a child and returned to the United States at the end of her high school years to live in San Diego, California.
In 1980, Lori graduated with a BS degree in Dental Hygiene. She worked as a dental hygienist for twenty years while raising her family. After retiring, Lori began to pursue her true passion, art. Discovering the perfect segue from dental hygiene into art, she chose to follow a path into the world of forensic art.
Now a certified forensic artist trained by Stuart Parks and Associates and the FBI academy, Lori works cases for law enforcement agencies in northern Nevada, where she lives and also works as an art instructor at Western Nevada Community College.
One of the cases early in Lori’s forensic career was a drawing of an unidentified “Jane Doe” done at the morgue in Reno. The case progressed to a 2-D reconstruction and then a 3-D clay reconstruction. For Lori, finding a name for this woman became something very important and transitioned into a strong passion to help solve as many unidentified cases as possible. Being part of the team at Can You Identify Me is exciting and meaningful to Lori, and she hopes to add a strong helping hand in giving  names to the many “lost” ones.