AZ AZ - Todd Mertes, 25, Tonopah, Sept 1986

Discussion in 'Resolved Cold Cases' started by azure, Aug 18, 2009.

  1. azure

    azure Active Member

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    The Doe Network:
    Hot Case 374

    Unidentified White Male



    • [*]The victim was discovered on February 12, 1988 in Tonopah, Maricopa County, Arizona
      [*]Estimated Date of Death: 1-2 years prior to discovery.
    Vital Statistics



    • [*]Estimated age: 19-35 years old
      [*]Approximate Height and Weight: 5'4"-5'8"
      [*]Distinguishing Characteristics: He had distinctive old healed fractures to his ribs; elements of his bones indicated that he may have been a person that spent a lot of time riding a motorcycle or doing another activity in a similar body position.
      [*]Other : X-rays of the rib fractures are available.
      [*]Dentals: Available; he has several dental restorations.
    Case History
    The victim was located near Interstate 10 and 339th Avenue in a desert area in Maricopa County, Arizona on February 12, 1988.

    Investigators
    If you have any information about this case please contact:
    Maricopa County Medical Examiner
    Forensic Science Center
    602-506-3322



    http://www.doenetwork.org/hot/hotcase374.html


    Kind of a long shot and who knows how much help this would be, but I wonder if this guy could have been a jockey or exercise rider? It says his bones suggested that he spent a lot of time riding a motorcycle or doing another activity in that position-eg a crouched, sitting position. With him being so young, I wonder how his bones could have been affected by maybe 3 years of riding motorcycles versus a lifetime of riding horses. Plus this would account for the rib fractures, and his small stature fits with this theory. ​

    I haven't searched for missing jockeys, but assuming none are found, should I call in this possible lead?​


    Kelly​
     
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  3. azure

    azure Active Member

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    Turf Paradise Racetrack is located in Phoenix, AZ, approximately 50 miles away. There may have been breeding and training farms closer to Tonopah, or his body may have been dumped where he was found--if he had some association with racehorses.

    Also, I can't find any missing jockeys or exercise riders that would match this UID, but given the transient nature of the racetrack employee's lives, it is possible that he was never reported missing, or if he was that it was not taken seriously.

    What do you guys think?
     
  4. Julessleuther

    Julessleuther New Member

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    IMO there were probably not any training farms in the Tonopah area--it is very much dry desert there. As a matter of fact, there is not much of anything there. It is, however, right off of I-10, which is a major throughfare between points east to Palm Springs and Los Angeles. I am thinking that he may have been a motorcyclist who may have been struck by a truckdriver or another car, and they perhaps then stole his bike??? Another possible is that there are train tracks that run parallel to I-10. Maybe he was riding the trains and fell off?
     
  5. Donjeta

    Donjeta Adji Desir, missing from Florida

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    His link has changed, he is now
    http://doenetwork.org/cases/1563umaz.html
    Also:
    https://identifyus.org/cases/3728

    [​IMG]

    he had
    Healed fractured ribs, healed T-9 fracture

    Doe says DNA is available, Namus says it's insufficient for profiling.
     
  6. webrocket

    webrocket New Member

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    strange story. the UID is known to be a homicide victim in a specific location in September 1986 but his skeletal remains were found in a different location 17 months later? I wonder how they know it is the same victim?
     
  7. Donjeta

    Donjeta Adji Desir, missing from Florida

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  8. CarlK90245

    CarlK90245 UID Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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  9. KateB

    KateB New Member

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    Just ran across this great article and it has a picture of Mr. Mertes.

    DNA test, police work end mother’s quest for son
    For two decades, a forensic anthropologist held out hope for answers about the life behind bones found in a desert.

    http://www.heraldnet.com/article/20120608/NEWS01/706089894
     
  10. Wanting2Help

    Wanting2Help New Member

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    Great article!!
     
  11. Donjeta

    Donjeta Adji Desir, missing from Florida

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  12. Kimster

    Kimster Former Member

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    “If there is a lesson to be learned from Todd’s story, it’s that family members should check back with agencies who they think have an active missing person report, especially if it’s been more than 10 years,” said Scharf in the news release. “The tools and technology have advanced so much in recent years. It may be possible to locate or identify someone that we couldn’t have 10 or 20 years ago and give peace to the family.”
    http://blogs.seattletimes.com/today/2012/06/remains-identified-as-marysville-man-missing-26-years/
     
  13. OkieGranny

    OkieGranny New Member Staff Member Forum Coordinators

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    Fro June 2012:

    http://www.heraldnet.com/article/20120608/NEWS01/706089894

     
  14. JerseyGirl

    JerseyGirl Moderator Staff Member Forum Coordinators

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    Todd was 25 when he was murdered and discarded in the desert. An unlikely series of events led to his murder and, two and a half decades later, to his identification.

    Mertes grew up in Marysville, Washington, where he was raised by a working mother along with his sister, Toinette Benson. He dropped out of high school and went straight to work in construction. Always a prankster, the life of the party, deep down he was emotionally fragile. In his 20s, Todd suffered a series of relationships that didn’t end well.

    “After that, he went off the deep end,” Benson said. “Then one of his childhood friends introduced him to the opportunity of selling cocaine.”

    Mertes was in his mid-20s when he took off with his friend. He didn’t let his family in on his whereabouts. They presumed he went to California and now have some reason to believe he might have gotten involved with the “Mexican Mafia.”

    “But the crazy part is, he didn’t get murdered from that,” Beson said.

    In September 1986, Benson spoke with Mertes for the very last time. He called her from a Phoenix number and said: “I’m in trouble. I’m screwed.”

    He told Benson that he had been partying with a girl at a casino, only to wake up the following day to find that the girl was gone along with his drugs and $5,000 in cash. The problem was, the goods didn’t belong to him.

    So Mertes told his sister he was hiding out with acquaintances. He wouldn’t tell her who they were, but he reluctantly gave her the number he was calling from. He reassured her that he would fly into Sea-Tac Airport and eventually make his way back home.

    Nobody knows why Mertes ended up in Phoenix. But he was staying with a couple named Carol and Michael Alan Root. Their relationship to Todd remains a mystery.

    When Benson didn’t hear back from Todd, she called the number he gave her. A woman answered. Benson asked if Mertes was there.

    “She muffled the phone and said: ‘Somebody’s asking for Todd.’ And a male voice answered, ‘Hang up the phone! Hang up!’ ”

    Police now believe Mertes was murdered by Mike Root while staying at his house. Nobody knows the motive.

    http://www.azcentral.com/story/news...ng-families-find-names-and-closure/736025001/
     

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