Medical Examiner Trying to ID Four Bodies
Roanoke Co., VA. - Right now authorities are working at least 140 cases across Virginia where bodies found cannot be identified.
Wednesday, authorities put faces on four of these cases and then took their work to the media for help.
These four cases - one each from Pittsylvania, Carroll, Alleghany and Lee Counties - are just the latest in a series of clay busts that have been produced in an effort to solve some of these cases with the oldest being 25 years old.
When they were found, nothing but bones remained, however enough of the skull of each one of them survived, giving authorities a new chance at solving some of their old cases.
"Our goal is to reunite deceased persons, who are currently unidentified, back with their families," said Donna Price with Medical Examiner's Office.
In the spotlight are four men: A Hispanic male found in Lee County in 2011, another Hispanic man found in southern Carroll County just last year, a third Hispanic male found in Blairs in 2005, and a fourth man believed to have been missing since the flood of 1985.
All of the first three are suspected of being migrant workers, which has made identifying them nearly impossible.
"We have an idea of who he may be but he has no known relatives in the area and the only relatives we know of that may be in Mexico... we've been unable to locate them at this time," said Lt. Todd Barrett with the Pittsylvania County Sheriff's Department.
The fourth man was found in the Jackson River in 1986. But like the other three, the suspected man is not local - officials believe originally from Ann Arbor, Michigan, they just can't verify it through a DNA match.
"It's just a strong feeling that we have. The age is within the range. The problem we have is none of his family is still alive in the area," said Sheriff Kevin Hall with the Alleghany County Sheriff's Department.
But investigators hope their luck will change as these faces, and their possible connections, go public.
All four of these men are part of the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System - also called the "NaMus System" - which is a national database, open to everyone, that compiles information in an effort to get deceased people identified.
Learn more about the NaMus on the system's website.