On the 7th of January, 1990, two rabbit hunters discovered the body of a young man in a wooded area in Owensboro, Kentucky.
The victim had been sexually assaulted and shot six times in the arm, chest and head with a .22 calibre long rifle. In addition, John Doe had also been beaten with a blunt instrument in the head and chest area, to the point where he was facially unrecognisable. John Doe’s facial features are described as “obliterated”, and several of his teeth were knocked out.
Due to the brutal nature of his murder, police think that it was a premeditated crime and that the abuse and murder took place over an extended amount of time.
The fact that his body had not decomposed, has led authorities to believe that he only died a handful of days before he was discovered. When his body was discovered, his hands and feet were missing, along with several of his teeth. This has made identifying John Doe even more complicated.
John Doe’s arms were tanned compared to the rest of his body, which suggests that he may not have been local to Owensboro. Whilst John Doe may not have been local, it is strongly believed that whoever was responsible for his murder was local to Owensboro.
During the early days of the investigation, it was thought that John Doe was killed as part of a satanic ritual.
The police did investigate the possibility that serial killer James Cable and his accomplice, Phillip Clopton, were responsible for John Doe’s murder. James was active during the 1980s in Kentucky, and several of James’s victims had been raped and dismembered, with some even being beaten to death.
However, all of James’s confirmed victims were female.
In April 1990, not long after John Doe had been discovered, a 15-year-old girl who had been captured by James and Phillip was able to escape. Phillip was killed by the girl in self-defence, but James was subsequently arrested for his crimes. James died in prison in December 2003, and he never confessed to his role in any of the crimes.
Investigators have said that they would test DNA that was found on the victim’s body with DNA belonging to James, however, the results of that test have never been released.
In 2015, a spokesperson for the Kentucky State Police said that the last time the police received a possible lead in the case was in May. The spokesperson also said that the lead was investigated thoroughly and through DNA evidence, but it was determined that there was no connection to John Doe. It is unknown if the spokesperson was referring to James Cable.
Daviess County John Doe is described as being a white male between the ages of 25 and 40. He was between 5″0′ and 5″7′ and weighed between 125 – 140 pounds. He had curly brown hair medium length hair that had some grey on the temples that were eight inches long. He had natural teeth with only some fillings, either brown or blue eyes as sources differ, and he had a “farmer’s tan” on his arms.
Semen was found in/around the victim’s body, but it is not known if attempts to use this evidence have resulted in any viable leads.
At the time John Doe’s body was found, a witness who lived down the road from the wooded area where he was found, came forward and said that they saw a white and green Ford pickup truck, possibly an early 1970s model, driving in the area the night before his body was found.
Do you recognise John Doe?
Unidentified, Unidentified Person, John Doe, Daviess County John Doe, Kentucky, 1990, Murder, Homicide, Cold Case, Unsolved Murder, Unsolved Crime, True Crime, Mystery