Okay, what do we think about this one?
Timeline: Unterhuber is stated as having left the state of New York on July 7, 1988. I don't know what this means - once in the USA, surely you are free to leave any state you like. His passport stayed in the US though, being found in February 1989. The date of contact of July 7 is consistent with a date of death "weeks earlier" and the body being found on August 15, i.e., 5 1/2 weeks' difference.
Location: Josef Unterhuber is misisng from Bolzano, Italy. The Doe was found in Kingston, NY. This sounds terrible for a match but Unterhuber is known to have been in the US. He went to Vienna and obtained a visa for New York. His passport was found in Boston at a homeless shelter on February 12, 1989. Kingston is 100 miles from NY and 200 miles from Boston.
Personal effects: The UID had European-branded articles of high quality. Unterhuber was a professional translator who had the means to jump on a plane with no notice and the ability to obtain a visa (probably not a tourist visa as I don't believe one would have been needed).
Unterhuber's name is ethnically German and he was from a border area of Italy near Austria. Commerzbank is a German bank that is also present in northern Italy and Austria. Unterhuber's Visa was obtained in Vienna, suggesting he may have dual nationality. It is consistent that he would have been a Commerzbank customer. A photograph of a white male with wavy, brown hair was found on the deceased. Unterhuber is described as having wavy, brown hair.
Age is given as 30-50 years old. Unterhuber was 32, i.e., within range.
UID was 6'1"/185 cm. Unterhuber was 182 cm. This is a 1" discrepancy, explicable as a reporting error. No weight is given but 185lbs is consistent with average build for the height and Unterhuber's photo, where he appears neither fat nor thin.
DNA is available for the UID but not yet submitted. This precludes an automatic CODIS rule out. Unterhuber's DNA position is not clear.
Scarring: no match. UID had a "missing organ" and a 4 1/2" linear scar in the right abdominal quadrant. This appears to be consistent with an appendectomy. This is not mentioned; however, Unterhuber had a scar on the right thigh and a healed fracture on the upper left arm, neither of which is mentioned in the UID.
Hot Case vs Unterhuber
Last edited by CarlK90245; 03-29-2013 at 01:27 PM. Reason: Edited to remove photo link to Doe as this no longer works.
Okay, I've gone and submitted this one as a possible match to the ME dealing with the UID.
This is the text of my e-mail:
I came across the link to this UID John Doe while browsing the DoeNetwork.org site, where it is listed as the latest hot case (2082).
The decedent appears to be a very good match for Josef Unterhuber, who is missing from Bolzano, Italy. While such a large distance would normally preclude a match, it appears highly likely from the circumstances that Unterhuber was present in the USA at the time of the decedentís passing, as he is believed to have left Vienna, Austria, for New York on or after January 11 1988 and his passport was found in Boston, MA, in February 1989.
Physically Unterhuber appears to be a good match for the UIDíS demographics, although scarring provided for both the UID and Unterhuber does not match up (though the discrepancy could be an omission rather than necessarily inconsistent). The UIDís personal effects appear to indicate a European citizen of some means and this would be consistent with Unterhuber. Unterhuberís details may be found here: http://www.doenetwork.org/cases/408dmita.html
I hope that this is of assistance. If you believe that this is not a match, or this person has already been ruled out as a match for the decedent, I would be grateful if you would let me know anyway.
I look forward to hearing from you and would be delighted if I could be of any further assistance.
I also found a NamUs profile here although at first glance it does not appear to add anything to the Doe page.
You have a reasonable timeline, and a good match-up on ethnicity, age, hair, and the European clothing, and a near match (close enough) on height. While there are probably numerous missing males in New York who would match up on all of those variables, I would say it's still worth a look. I see no solid inconsistencies.
An inch and a half height difference is not a significant discrepancy for decomposed remains.
As for the scars, you are right that "unmentioned" does not always equate to "non-existent". Earlier this week there was a missing person case discussed on this forum where they forgot to mention a steel rod implanted in the MP's leg. A rational person would probably say that this is too significant not to mention, but in this case it was left unmentioned.
The one thing that gives me pause is that the unmentioned scars are unmentioned in both directions (i.e., scars on the MP not mentioned on the UID, and vice versa). However, since the remains are at least partially decomposed, an unmentioned scar (comparing from the MP to the UID) may not be that big of a deal.
The bit about him leaving the state of New York is confusing. How did they know he left the state? It sounds like they are implying that his passport was stamped, but they aren't actually saying that. And as you correctly stated, there is no border check to cross state lines. But one could guess that he probably didn't return to Europe without his passport, as he would have needed it to get through customs at any airport in Europe.
Also, I doubt that he is in CODIS. As I understand it, there would have to have been a missing person's report filed with a United States based LE agency in order to be placed into CODIS. (If I am wrong on this, someone please say so.)
If you are a legal alien on a non-tourist visa, do you need to register with anybody and give notice of a change of address to state authorities?
I know that legal foreigners in France, for instance, have to register with the Town Hall (Prefecture). Could he have been on some other kind of Visa than a tourist one that would require him to give notice of leaving NY? Other than that, I'm baffled. Standard tourist Visas are 90 days, suggesting that Josef would have overstayed (assuming they haven't gotten any shorter) unless he had some other permission to be in the country.
To be honest I wouldn't have submitted because the description is so potentially common (height, weight, age, hair would match me and probably Carl and lots of other people) were it not for the strength of the timeline and the indicators that this person was not from the USA. Both of those factors make it much more promising and are what ultimately persuaded me to go for it despite the inconsistencies over scarring.
I wouldn't be certain that there is no missing persons report in the US system. There probably isn't a report, but the finding of the passport (and its return to the consulate) suggests that Josef is known to officialdom somehow. I wonder if that could have been sufficient to trigger a report.
bump. Any info on the possible match?
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Never heard a thing unfortunately.
There are 200 exclusions for John Doe but no mention of Unterhuber.
Interesting that both the man in the photo, and Unterhuber have a cleft chin?
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Hi, I didn't find a thread about this case.
Body was found is wooded area near Wiltnych Rural Cemetery.
But what's interesting in this case is everything he had on him. A wallet with this picture, and a german calendar. Please take a look at the case and let me hear what you think. He looks european to me (and it says he might be european too). Maybe french or bulgarian?
He looks like Film Director Roman Polanski:
Before anybody gets the victim into a certain ethnic/national category...
The guy in the pic looks an awful lot like one of my uncles (dad was a Brit, mom a Hoosier). He also resembles a cousin of mine (not the aforementioned's child) and the tie between them is Indiana.
I've also realized that unless a "white" person from most parts of the USA is an actual immigrant, they're basically a "white mutt" (myself included).
Also, I couldn't tell this from any of the links. Are they sure that the pic is of the actual deceased or could it have been a friend or family member?
Kingston PD seek identity in cold case death
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