NC NC - Wilson, Wht/HispMale, 17-22, Skull & Bag of Rocks in Buckhorn Reservoir, Apr 1993

Discussion in 'The Unidentified' started by Gardener1850, Jun 9, 2019.

  1. Gardener1850

    Gardener1850 Well-Known Member

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    June 9, 2019

    WILSON — A local fisherman thought he reeled in a turtle shell until he turned it over in his hand to find himself staring into the empty eye sockets of a human skull.

    Nearly 25 years later, the identity of the skull fished out of the murky waters of Buckhorn Reservoir remains a mystery.

    Looking for a lantern he'd lost the night before while catfishing, 33-year-old Elton Mitchell of Kenley stood on the Bailey Road bridge in April 1993, tied a homemade hook to a rope and dragged the bottom of the 12-foot-deep waters.

    On his first attempt, Mitchell pulled out the skull. He said it was blackened instead of white and he didn't immediately recognize it for what it was. Medical examiners would later say the discoloration was due to the skull being submerged in sludge for several years.

    On his second try, Mitchell pulled up a bag filled with rocks. He stopped at that point and notified authorities.

    The bag had a nine-pound rock and several smaller asphalt chunks. Investigators figure the killer put the severed head of a victim in the bag with rocks to keep it weighed down.

    While hardly anything is known about the skull, it most assuredly belongs to a murder victim. Medical examiners found two small caliber gunshot holes in the back of the skull and major exit damage on the right side.

    The skull belongs to a white male, possibly Hispanic, 17 to 22 years old, estimated to be 67 inches tall and weighing 140 pounds. Medical examiners originally believed the skull to be female, which might have led authorities down wrong paths early in the investigation.

    The skull wasn't determined to be male until 2008. There were two notable missing men at around the time the skull was found. Drug dealer Timmy Watson, 26, disappeared in February 1988, and Pealon "Wink" Mercer, 35, vanished in 1989, according to archived Wilson Times reports accessed at the local library.

    Read More: Grisly discovery still a mystery after 25 years - Rocky Mount Telegram

    NAMUS: The National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs)
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  2. iulia

    iulia Well-Known Member

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    Date of Discovery: April 8, 1993
    Location of Discovery: Wilson, Wilson County, North Carolina
    Estimated Date of Death: 3+ years prior
    State of Remains: Partial skeletal
    Cause of Death: Homicide by gunshot

    Physical Description
    Estimated Age: 17-22 years old
    Race: White and/or Hispanic
    Sex: Male
    Height: 5'4" to 5'7"
    Weight: 130 to 150 lbs.
    Hair Color: Unknown
    Eye Color: Unknown
    Distinguishing Marks/Features: Possibly some gait disturbance in life given some bone loss in his legs. His nose appeared slightly crooked and may have tilted to the right.

    Dentals: Available. An exam of the upper teeth suggested that he may have endured some type of trauma to his face prior to his death that formed an abscess behind his front upper teeth. This may have caused him some pain or discomfort. No other evidence of decay. Lower jaw not recovered. It appeared he ground his teeth.
    Fingerprints: Not available.
    DNA: Available.

    Clothing & Personal Items
    Clothing: Remnants of blue Levi jeans (size 30M), belt (36" long) with buckle indentation at 28/29 inches, white metal belt buckle, and white slip-on woman's shoe. They may not have any relation to the remains.
    Jewelry: Unknown.
    Additional Personal Items: Unknown.

    Circumstances of Discovery
    The victim's skull was found by fishermen searching the Buckhorn Reservoir for a lost lantern. They later pulled a bag containing asphalt fragments and a 9 lb. rock, presumably used to weigh down the remains.

    The victim was initially believed to be female until DNA testing in 2008.
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