08-30-2007, 01:45 PM #1Registered User
- Join Date
- Dec 2004
CA - Sacramento - Male *Hot Case 596*, Richards Blvd, Jan'88 - Alfred Cardinal
I can't find if the second man is also on the DN.
Fingerprint bank gives names to the nameless
Long-deceased bodies are finally identified by FBI's new technology.
By M.S. Enkoji - Bee Staff Writer
Published 12:00 am PDT Sunday, August 26, 2007
Story appeared in METRO section, Page B1
Print | E-Mail | Comments (0)| Digg it | del.icio.us
In the gathering darkness of a winter evening, three men down on their luck got into a tussle along Richards Boulevard in northern Sacramento.
As fists flew that January night in 1988, they tripped over something on the ground: the decomposing body of a man in brown laced boots, a checked, flannel shirt and jeans.
A few years later, a homeless man searching for a place to sleep in a tunnel near 8th Street in downtown Sacramento came across the body of a man, tucked into a sleeping bag upon a foam pad. He called 911.
Both of the dead men, carefree spirits who had a few run-ins with the law, became part of the gallery of unidentified bodies that Sacramento County takes charge of until a name turns up.
The prospect of identifying the long-nameless deceased is improving. The FBI's national data bank of fingerprints is expanding. Because of more efficient filing and identification, some police agencies are sending all the fingerprint sets they collect to the national database, including those of misdemeanor offenders.
Which is how the names Noel Everett Wait and Alfred Cardinal finally matched the fingerprints that Sacramento County deputy coroners had tried to identify for years.
Wait, 45, was a longtime drifter, a California native who ended up sleeping in downtown Sacramento, weathered beyond his years by the time he was found inside his sleeping bag.
Cardinal, 63, was apparently living under a hedge on Richards Boulevard. He had died of natural causes before the men stumbled over him that winter evening.
Healed fractures in his forearms and a surgical scar across his stomach offered the only clues to his past.
Since the crimes the two men had committed were only misdemeanors, their fingerprints were not entered into the FBI's massive fingerprint data bank until after their bodies were found.
The FBI Criminal Justice Information Services Division in Clarksburg, W.Va. is home of the national fingerprint data bank, which has 53 million sets in the criminal files.
Civilian prints, taken from government employees and military personnel, are also on file.
Before computers took over what people did by hand in 1999, someone would actually have to rummage through files to look for a match, said Stephen Fischer, a bureau spokesman.
Now, the division will do 24 million checks a year, he said, guaranteeing an answer in two hours, but routinely doing it in 10 minutes.
Though the addition of old prints gives hope for those still waiting for word on a missing person, new technology will make identification even more complete and quicker, Fischer said. The bureau will eventually log biometric identification that will help investigators match palm prints, voices and the irises of peoples' eyes.
Wait and Cardinal -- who were among 73 "John Doe" cases in Sacramento County since 1975 -- remained anonymous until recently, when the Sacramento County Coroner's Office received information from the state Department of Justice that warranted more research, said Ed Smith, a deputy coroner.
Cardinal's fingerprints were checked against the FBI's database, and they came back with a name this time. Cardinal had been arrested in 1973 in Richmond for a misdemeanor, information not available when Cardinal died.
His arrest record listed his father from a small town in Alberta, Canada. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police there happened to have a constable with the same last name who turned out to be a distant relative of Cardinal's family.
"It was just something out of the blue," said Cardinal's daughter, Linda Giroux, a nurse in Alberta, Canada.
She remembers tagging along with her father when he worked on farms, she said, the only girl among six brothers. She also recalled her father's despair when his marriage broke up.
An experienced backpacker, he packed a duffel bag and told the children he was hiking across the United States, but he would be back for them.
"And off he went," said Giroux, who was 6 at the time.
The children grew up with relatives, she said. Except for one letter home, possibly from Mexico, and news about him being in a hit-and-run accident in the 1970s, she never heard anything more.
The agony of his absence colored her whole life.
"Every so often I'd cry," she said. She scoured the Internet, searching and searching.
Wait was also identified when his prints were checked against the FBI data bank in June, said Kim Gillis, the deputy coroner who worked to identify Wait and Cardinal.
Wait had drifted from state to state, racking up infractions such as drinking and hopping railroad cars, but nothing serious enough for authorities to forward his prints to the FBI.
With a name, Gillis got Wait's arrest records, combing them for clues to relatives, but like other habitual, petty criminals, Wait was seldom straight with police, often giving them false or incomplete information.
Finally, by checking on a father's name and sifting through birth and death certificates, Gillis found a cousin.
"I didn't know I had a cousin," said William Gerwig of El Cajon. He never knew Wait, and only knew Wait's father briefly.
Gerwig has found pictures of Wait as a child, but said the family was never close.
"It's good to fill in the blanks, though," he said.
Last edited by Cubby; 04-26-2010 at 11:13 AM.
By Traybone74 in forum Pre-1960's MissingReplies: 35Last Post: 07-07-2016, 02:58 PM
By JerseyGirl in forum Identified!Replies: 2Last Post: 06-04-2016, 06:53 PM
By MaedchenX in forum Identified!Replies: 10Last Post: 02-24-2011, 11:19 AM
By anthrobones in forum The UnidentifiedReplies: 2Last Post: 04-14-2008, 06:03 PM