Cold case from 32-years ago continues with body found south of Lewiston

Cold case from 32-years ago continues with body found south of Lewiston »Play Video
Sheriff hopes DNA technology will help solve the case.
LEWISTON, ID - 32-years ago Thursday, the body of a young man was found in the river 25-miles south of Lewiston, and to this day, that man is still known only as John Doe.

Sophia Miraglio brings this cold case to life tonight.

It's been more than three decades, however he's still known as John Doe. And while he's come to rest on Normal Hill Cemetery, his story began many miles away.

"Somebody does know something and I believe somebody is hiding something," said Nez Perce County Sheriff Joe Rodriguez. "And it's just going to take time to figure who that person is."

The year was 1982, the place was right where the Grand Ronde comes into the Snake.

"It was during spring run off, we have not located the male that was located in the river at the time," said Rodriguez.

The man was shot twice; once in the left shoulder and once in the neck by a .38-caliber Smith and Wesson. Approximately 5'11", 160 to 170 pounds, brown hair, brown eyes. The case has provided very little clues, and has been opened and closed multiple times. Nez Perce County Sheriff Joe Rodriguez believes he knows why.

"Due to the clothing description, some of the people working in the area upstream from where he was located," said Rodriguez. "I think it's outside the United States honestly."

With time and distance both working against the case, Rodriguez hopes to create a task force that would span across the decades.

"People that may have worked in the area, people that may have been foreigners here and basically just trying to pick everybody's brain and resources that they have," said Rodriguez.

And while time undoubtedly works against cases like these, it opens the doors to new possibilities. In '82 DNA testing was only an idea, which is why John Doe was exhumed two-years ago.

"Due to moisture from the metal box that the body was in, we had to take it to the FBI office here in Lewiston and dry the bone prior to sending it," said Rodriguez.

Despite an unknown identification, the bone structure is wielding many clues.

"It's not 100% accurate the sketches aren't but I believe they are close to what the person looked like," said Rodriguez.

Rodriguez said he'll continue searching for clues, all in hopes of one day finding closure for a family.

"The family has a right to know what happened and then if they're located we can return this person back to where they came from and they can have a proper burial," said Rodriguez.

The case remains open and unsolved at this time. Nez Perce County Sheriff's deputies ask that if you have any information about the identity of this individual or this homicide, contact them at 208-799-3131.