Mystery in the Mountains: Whose skull is this?

Mystery in the Mountains

Jennifer Fleishman, Troop B New York State Police public information officer said, “It’s really a mystery; who this man was, why he was here, where he was going, where he was from… there’s a lot of unknowns.”

On September 1st, 1986, off Route 73 in North Elba, New York, a young couple was looking for a spot to set up their tent for the night, thinking the Ausable River with a view of the Olympic Ski Jumps would be great… That is until they found something disturbing; a human skull.

“The man was found with clothing including a striped shirt, blue nylon jacket, navy blue pants, brown boots, some non-prescription glasses, and a blue knit cap,” said Fleishman.

Police determined the skeleton remains belonged to a man who was between the ages of 40 to 60 years old. He had a thin build and was approximately 5’5 to 5’9. Police said he is not believed to be a local resident. “No identification was found on the victim,” Fleishman said.

The autopsy determined the man most likely died by suicide during the Winter of 1985 as he had a gunshot wound to the head with a .22 caliber gun.

“The gun traced back to the town of Arvonia, Virginia and the revolver was found with the remains,” Fleishman said.

When the body was located, investigators found no identification on the man, as he only had a few personal items.

“In the victims’ belongings, he was also found with an Adirondack Trailways bus schedule. The man was also found in possession of two pictures of a young boy in his wallet. We were able to restore those photos as they were heavily damaged from the weather and we found a phone number on the back of one of those photos as well,” said Fleishman.

On the back of a photo, there was a phone number listed.

Officer Fleishman said, “It was 269-6638 and we are hoping somebody might recognize that phone number there was no area code with it, but if somebody might recognize that particular phone number maybe that might help us understand more about this case.”

The young boy in the photographs is believed to be between the ages of five and eight years old. “I’m hoping that somebody sees those pictures and recognizes either themselves in the photo or a friend or a family member and can help us contact them and shed some light on the identity of the victim and the kid,” Fleishman said.

With the help of the FBI, an age progression of the young boy in the photos was created to establish what he may look like today.

If you have any information regarding this case, New York State Police ask that you contact Investigator Shannon Connors at (518) 891-8902.

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