Marshall County John Doe

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On the morning of April 15, 1997, a 17-year-old fisherman was fishing in a rural area in Marshall County, Alabama, northwest of Arab in a creek off Eagle Rock Drive. Whilst there, he discovered a headless body, with its legs bound together at the ankles with rope and wire ties. Air fresheners were found nearby.

Given the remoteness of the site, it’s believed whoever dumped the body knew the local area. They had to travel down a dirt road, just off Pleasant Valley Road, and they had to be aware of the creek’s likelihood of flooding during rainy periods.


It was determined the deceased had likely died a week prior to being found. His cause of death was either the result of being shot or stabbed, but he’d also been subjected to other severe injuries. His hands, head and feet had been removed with a saw, while his heart and spleen had been surgically removed. It’s theorized his organs were removed to hide injuries and destroy potential evidence.

The remains were mummified when found, and it appeared as though he’d been killed at another site before his body was dumped at the location. From evidence found on the creek bank, it’s likely he was only at the location for three days.


The deceased is described as a white male between the ages of 19 and 34. He stood at 5’9″ and weighed approximately 120 pounds. Given his head had been removed, his hair and eye colour are currently unknown. However, his body hair is described as strawberry blond.

To obtain a better picture of what John Doe looked like when alive, the Marshall County Sheriff’s Office partnered with Parabon NanoLabs. Their report stated he was likely between 20 and 30 years of age at the time of his death, light-skinned with freckles, had blue eyes, and his hair was either dark blond or light brown.

When found, he was wearing a blue, green and grey vertically-striped Faded Glory short-sleeved pullover and size 32×30 Levi Strauss 501 jeans. It appeared he’d been redressed after his death.

The sheriff’s office has released a drawing of a white male seen near Cotaco Creek around the time the body was dumped. He stood at 6’1″ and weighed approximately 210 pounds, and he had black hair and a moustache. He was seen driving a 1990s model maroon Chevrolet truck with tinted windows and Georgia tag. Those who saw him say he was acting nervous.

The lead investigator on the case was asked if John Doe’s organs could have been removed by those involved in illegal organ harvesting, to which he responded the theory couldn’t be ruled out. However, he does believe it more likely his organs were removed to hide evidence.


John Doe’s DNA is available for comparison.

Those with information regarding the identity of John Doe are asked to contact the Marshall County Sheriff’s Office tip line at 256-571-7851 or the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences at 256-539-1401.

Image Credit: Parabon NanoLabs

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