N.Y. state police looking for help in cold case with Arvonia connection

Published 6:00 am Tuesday, May 4, 2021

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New York State Police in Ray Brook continue to investigate the discovery of skeletal remains of an unidentified man found 34 years ago in North Elba.

On September 1, 1986, a fisherman on the Ausable River located a human skull near the Olympic Ski Jumps off State Route 73 in the town of North Elba.

New York State Police responded to the scene and located the remains of an unidentified man in a wooded area parallel to the river.

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An investigation revealed the man suffered a gunshot wound to the head with a .22 caliber weapon. During a further search of the area, troopers found a .22 caliber revolver in the woods, believed to be the weapon which caused the man’s death. The gun was traced back to Arvonia, Virginia, in 1978.

An autopsy determined the man most likely died by suicide during the winter of 1985. The victim’s teeth were intact with a very small amount of dental work. His teeth had excessive wear, which anthropologists described as indicative of a possible foreign diet. Anthropologists estimated the victim was between 40 to 60 years old. He had a thin build and was approximately 5’5 to 5’9.

The victim was found wearing a blueish-gray knitted hat, navy blue pants, a gray sweatshirt with red and blue stripes, a blue nylon insulated jacket and brown leather lace up boots, size 9 . or 10. A brown leather luggage tote bag with orange trim was found with the victim. Also present were a pair of non-prescription eyeglasses with a transparent brown frame. An Adirondack Trailways-Pine Hill Trailways Bus Schedule was found in the property and was most likely printed for public use between December 1985 and January 1986. The man is not believed to be local.

Two wallet-sized Kodak photographs were found on the victim and were restored by the New York State Police Forensic Video Multimedia Services Unit. The photographs were of a young boy who is estimated to be between 5 and 8 years old. There was a phone number on the back of one of the photographs, which was “269-6638.”

With the help of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), an age progression of the boy in the photos was created to show what he may look like today.

Anyone with information on this case is asked to contact Investigator Shannon Connors at the New York State Police at (518) 891-8902.