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  1. #1
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    Apr 2005
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    MN - Boomington, UID man at Mall of America, Feb'03 - Sean Rush

    There was a profile of this case in the City Pages recently.

    Eight months ago, a man jumped from a Mall of America parking ramp. Medical examiners still don't know who he was. Nowhere Man

    by Beth Hawkins


    October 29, 2003

    Shortly after 9:00 p.m. last February 18, Bloomington Police Officer George Harms stopped his squad car at a red light along the eastern edge of the Mall of America. As he waited for the light to change, a car pulled up alongside him. "You see that guy fall?" its driver asked. Harms scanned the snow at the base of the mall's parking ramp, just as the driver had directed, and spotted a body lying on the ground. He radioed dispatch and pulled over to get a closer look. What he discovered was a man lying half in the roadway and half on the sidewalk and boulevard. The man was unconscious; his breathing was shallow. A Boston Bruins baseball cap lay by his side. Mall security officer Braden John Hatzenbeller arrived on the scene and recognized the man right away. He'd encountered him about two hours earlier--at 7:30--near the north end of the ramp's seventh floor. He'd told the man that the seventh level was off limits to mall guests and asked him to leave. Hatzenbeller said he'd watched the man walk away and down the stairs. Because he'd been acting "weird," mall security tracked him via camera for a short time.

    Other officers drove up to the closed-off area of the ramp. They found a few footprints winding through a snow bank and leading to a railing, which was covered in a dusting of white. It was an eerie, puzzling scene. But not as puzzling as the months of investigation that would follow.


    Though an ambulance rushed the man to the Hennepin County Medical Center, he never again regained consciousness. He died shortly after midnight, without having uttered a word about his identity or motives for jumping. He carried no wallet, no ID, nothing. All hospital staffers knew for sure was what they could tell by looking at him: he was white, between 25 and 30 years old, 5 foot 10 inches tall, weighed 200 pounds, and had wavy brown hair and brown eyes. He wore a short, goatee-style moustache and beard, with a few days' growth filled in around it. He appeared well cared for. His clothes--cargo-style jeans, blue pullover, green hooded sweatshirt, black leather jacket--were clean and fairly new. The man's body was turned over to the Hennepin County Medical Examiner, along with responsibility for resolving his case.

    Police and mall security scoured the area for abandoned cars, but found none. Bobby & Steve's Auto World, which takes care of the mall's towing, didn't turn up any unclaimed cars either. It was a long shot anyway, since none of the three keys found in the man's pocket suggested he'd driven to the mall. They weren't car keys. They were generic cuts, according to a locksmith. One was engraved, "Do not duplicate," and probably fit an apartment door somewhere. If the keys can be considered clues, so then, one would think, can the other contents of his pockets: a buck knife, 95 cents, and a lighter. What the clues mean, however, is anyone's guess.

    So often, suicides leave behind a tangle of unanswered questions: What could have caused so much despair, such psychache as suicide experts call it, that someone would want to end his life? Were there signs? Was there anything anyone could have done? In this case, however, investigators have spent the last nine months trying to resolve a far more fundamental mystery: Who was this man?



    Last year, 9,111 people died in Hennepin County. Of those deaths, 3,403 were reported to the Hennepin County Medical Examiner's office for investigation. In around 2,000 of those cases, the cause of death was self-evident and death certificates were eventually signed by treating physicians. In the remaining cases, the matter of determining the cause of death fell to the medical examiner, Dr. Garry Peterson, and his staff.

    Two dozen full- and part-time investigators gather the information necessary for the pathologists to make their determinations. In addition to evidence gathered from the body itself and from the place of death, the investigators get help from a roster of specialized consultants: anthropologists, entomologists, dentists, sketch artists, facial reconstruction experts, and others. Usually, the deaths are ruled to have occurred by natural causes or by accident. A small percentage are suicides or murders. An even smaller number are left undetermined.

    Every year, the office scrambles to put names with a handful of unidentified bodies. It's a rare occasion when investigators fail to identify someone. In fact, "Mall of America Man," as the ME's staff has dubbed him, is only the third John Doe to remain nameless in the last decade. Usually, family members or other loved ones launch a search that pegs an identity to a body. And after a news release asking for help in identifying Mall of America Man, the Bloomington police and the ME's office did field a couple of dozen phone calls (including one from a psychic). One seemed especially promising. A Metro Transit bus driver named Dennis Daniels said he'd seen news reports of the man's death and thought he might be a regular on a route he'd been driving for several months. Every day, he picked up a man matching Mall Man's description at a stop on Union Street near the University of Minnesota and dropped him off at the Mall. He hadn't seen the passenger in the 10 days since the jump. As it turned out, however, the driver's regular passenger had simply been on vacation.

    Despite the glamorous aura cast by TV's CSI, when it comes to identifying a corpse, the most powerful real-life tool is the computer. Within hours of his death, Mall Man's fingerprints had been entered into two different computer networks containing more than 45 million sets of prints. Dennis Randall, a latent print examiner at the Hennepin County Crime Lab, checked the prints against both a regional database and the FBI's national system, to no avail. The regional database contains one million sets of prints submitted by law enforcement agencies in Minnesota and the Dakotas. The FBI system's 44 million sets include those of anyone arrested since the 1960s, anyone who served in the U.S. armed forces, and certain federal employees.

    The remaining steps to establishing an identity are considerably more complicated. On March 14, a clerk at the Hennepin County Sheriff's Department entered the details of Mall Man's case into an FBI computer database that contains files on missing and unidentified people. Placing records in the 25-year-old database, known as the National Crime Information Center, is such a time-consuming practice that investigators typically wait about three weeks--the length of time by which most John or Jane Does are identified--before they make an entry. (Exceptions include cases involving missing children or where circumstances warrant quicker action.)

    NCIC files contain a person's estimated age, sex, race, height, weight, features, deformities, scars and/or tattoos, jewelry, blood type, dental characteristics, and the estimated date of disappearance, death, or, in the case of someone living but unable to remember his or her identity, discovery. All new records must indicate whether an unidentified body is intact--if it isn't, the computer will attempt to match, say, limbs to a torso. Medical conditions are entered, as are any medications found in the body. The computer continually compares the records, and prompts all relevant law enforcement agencies to investigate likely "hits."

    Creating the record for Mall Man took two and a half hours. Roberta Geiselhart, the Hennepin County Medical Examiner's supervisor of investigations and the person leading the hunt for Mall Man's identity, bought a box of chocolates for the staffer at the Hennepin County Sheriff's Department who completed the tedious process.

    The effort drew three possible "hits" from the NCIC, but none panned out. There likely would have been more matches if Mall Man had had a few more distinguishing characteristics. As it was, the features that set his body apart from everybody else's were a couple of teeny scars at his hairline and a 5/8-inch-long scar on his right cheek. Maybe his hair was beginning to recede a little. But he had no tattoos and no fillings or other dental restorations. There were no drugs, illicit or prescription, in his bloodstream to signal anything about his health or lifestyle.

    The fact that the man's body didn't give the NCIC's computers much to chew on does suggest that he wasn't a member of the groups that most John or Jane Does turn out to belong to: transients, undocumented immigrants, and mentally ill people who ended up homeless as a result of the deinstitutionalization of the last three decades. For example, consider the man's filling-free mouth. Minneapolis dentist Ann Norrlander is the state's only board-certified forensic odontologist. She examined Mall Man's teeth for the ME's office. Because of a process called sealing, it's not unheard of these days for someone, particularly someone as young as Mall Man, to have had no restorative dental work. Mall Man's teeth weren't sealed, however, leading Norrlander to conclude that he'd enjoyed good preventative dental care. He "was probably of a socioeconomic group that was middle class or upper middle class," she says.

    The man's clothing supports her hunch. He wore Birkenstock boots, which retail for somewhere around $240.

    He might have been a father or a husband or a lover. He was probably someone's friend or brother. He was certainly somebody's son. And at this point, his best--and maybe only--hope of being identified is if someone starts looking for him. Every year, the FBI receives reports of approximately 850,000 people who have gone missing in the United States. Some 75 percent of them are teen runaways, three-fourths of whom are found within 24 hours. Locating the large number of adults reported missing each year can be considerably more difficult.

    That's mainly a problem of reporting. Before the NCIC database can cough up potential matches for Mall Man, for example, someone has to have alerted authorities that he's missing. And sometimes, local law enforcement offices--which place a low priority on adult cases--are lackadaisical even when such a report does get made. They might neglect to suggest that families submit dental records or, in some states, DNA to help in the search.


    Rest of the article is here: http://citypages.com/databank/24/1195/article11613.asp


    His DoeNetwork page: http://www.doenetwork.us/cases/608ummn.html


    Another article from a local paper: http://news.onemissingperson.org/MN-...his-grave.html
    Last edited by Cubby; 01-09-2011 at 05:30 AM.

  2. #2
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    Mar 2005
    Location
    Madison AL
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    397
    That's really sad,hope they are able to identify him someday

  3. #3
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    Feb 2004
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    New england
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    hes been missing and no one reported him missing. 250$ berk shoes im sure if he came from wealth someone would be looking for him. but whos to say he didnt get thoses berks on sale a friend of mine worked at a shoes store that carried expensive but good on ur feet shoes, they had sales every so often on discountiuned styles and stuff and sometimes you could get them for a really good price. im sure they checked into every missing persons report

  4. #4
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    Apr 2005
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    Northern US
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    What about a photo of the man?
    i didn't see any link with a photo.
    And don't they have the video from the mall??
    Did they release that to the news?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Minneapolis
    Posts
    37
    Quote Originally Posted by sharon25
    What about a photo of the man?
    i didn't see any link with a photo.
    And don't they have the video from the mall??
    Did they release that to the news?
    All I've seen are drawings... this is from doenetwork.us:



    There were a few in the actual article I posted, wish I still had the hard copy...

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Posts
    116

    Boston Bruins

    The Boston team baseball cap---did anyone check out a possible connection between this young man and Boston---missing persons from Boston?

    No car found at mall: could he have taken a Greyhound bus as far as the money he'd had would take him---(only 90-some cents found in his pocket)? Maybe a bus from the Boston area?

    A long shot I know

  7. #7
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    Feb 2004
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    New england
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    maybe they only looked local and in the surrounding areas and didnt think to look at boston but im sure they did knowing the hat he had on unless it sliped their mind to look at that as a clue

  8. #8
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    May 2004
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    Northern Vermont
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    Quote Originally Posted by smile22
    maybe they only looked local and in the surrounding areas and didnt think to look at boston but im sure they did knowing the hat he had on unless it sliped their mind to look at that as a clue
    He could have been from anywhere in New England or formerly from that area.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    New england
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    he might have been and they should have looked into that first maybe had had an ex wife or was in the middle of a painstacking divorce and, no one cared where he was ex no children no other family but his soon to be ex wife or he was estraned from his father/mother siblings that such

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
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    4,218
    Smile22, no offense, but sometimes your posts are very hard to read.... You need to use periods, please !!
    Again, I do not mean to offend.


  11. #11
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    May 2005
    Location
    texas
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    593
    i just read about this case. So sad! There has to be someone out there looking for him...

    I am searching through the NCMA trying to compare pictures.

    Anyone have any new info on this? I can't find much on google.

  12. #12
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    May 2005
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    texas
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    this guy kinda looks like him....also has same height/weight and maybe same scar on cheek.

    http://www.theyaremissed.org/ncma/ga...hp?A200301669W



    different pic here
    http://web.nami.org/jacksonville/ale...%20missing.htm

  13. #13
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    Apr 2005
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    where the tall corn grows
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    There are a lot of similarities between the two! Boots, scar on face, medical condition could be mental illness (usually is, I would bet). Have you suggested this to doenetwork or MN?

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    texas
    Posts
    593

    Unhappy not a match

    Jodie,

    Thank you for your interests in this case.

    We were contacted in August by the Doe Network about Aaron Seitz. The "hit" was investigated and we found that Aaron is not the person we have here at the ME office.

    Jackie Soucek
    Senior Investigator
    Hennepin County Medical Examiner's Office
    530 Chicago Avenue
    Minneapolis, MN 55415

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    274
    What a shame. It's so disappointing when you get the "not a match" message. But, it was a very good possibility and we'll keep trying.

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