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Body Found in 2012 Identified (Update to July 1st Story)

Update: After nearly two years, the body of a male subject found in a wooded area of Dover in November of 2012 has been positively identified.  The family of Ian Michael Withrow (DOB: 10-18-80) visited the Dover Police Department on Saturday, July 12th after recognizing the forensic artist model and tattoos that were released by the Delaware withrowOffice of the Chief Medical Examiner and the Dover Police Department on July 1st, 2014.  The family were able to provide details on additional tattoos and information that was not released to the public, leading to the positive identification of Withrow who is from the Felton/Kent County area.  The Dover Police Department would like to thank the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for their hard work in resolving this case, as well as members of the media and public who shared this story, leading to a positive identification.

Original Story: In November of 2012, the Dover Police Department were called to a wooded area near West Rustic Lane/Crawford Carroll Drive (woods near Sam’s Club) for the discovery of human remains.  Efforts to identify the man to this date have been unsuccessful.  The Delaware Office of the Chief Medical Examiner has worked with a forensic artist from Texas to create a three-dimensional facial reconstruction of the man, and tattoos that were found on him.  The man is believed to have been between 35-45 years of age and had been dead for up to 3 months before the discovery of his remains.  If anybody has any information, you are asked to call the Dover Police Department Criminal Investigations Unit at (302)-736-7111 or Hal Brown, Deputy Director, Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, at (302)-577-3420.  Below is a copy of the press release issued by the  Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, as well as the photos from the facial reconstruction.


WILMINGTON (June 30, 2014) – In an effort to identify a body found in a wooded area in Dover in November 2012, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner has received the assistance of a Texas forensic artist in creating a three-dimensional facial reconstruction of the man.

The man’s remains were found Nov. 2, 2012, in a wooded area near West Rustic Lane and Crawford Carroll Drive in Dover. He is believed to be between ages 35 and 45. The Medical Examiner’s Office said the man may have been dead for up to three months. The cause and manner of his death are undetermined.

Hal Brown, deputy director of the Office of the Chief Medical (OCME), said because of the advanced stage of decomposition of the body, typical efforts to identify the man have not been successful.

“Our goal is to identify the man and inform any living family members about his death,” Brown said. “The three-dimensional reconstruction is another tool we are using to accomplish that goal.”

In December 2012, Denton County Sheriff’s Deputy Leslie Willingham, who has hundreds of hours of training in forensic art and is widely recognized as one of the most experienced practitioners in the field, contacted the Delaware OCME to offer her services. This led to a January 2013 CT scan of the skull, performed at Papastavros’ Associates Medical Imaging in Wilmington, and subsequent forensic work in 2013. Papastavro’ Associates provided the service in hopes of assisting in the man’s identification.

During 2014, Deputy Willingham has assisted more than a dozen federal and state agencies with forensic art cases. In the North Texas area, her composite drawings have helped to identify suspects and led to several arrests.

“It’s important to note that a three-dimension facial reconstruction is not a portrait,” Deputy Willingham said. “It is created so that someone who sees the reconstruction might realize that he looks like someone they know. His eyes may be a different color, the shape of his eyes and mouth may be slightly different. They are artistic representations based on the best available scientific information.”

The reconstruction used information that usually is not available. The Medical Examiner’s Office photographed tattoos on the body, which were incorporated into the reconstruction. The man’s hair color is known to be brown, with pattern baldness, and he had a recent haircut. He also had a slight beard on the sides of his jawline, and some of his hair had a reddish tint.

If you recognize the man or might know anything about his identity, please contact Sgt. Shawn Harrington at the Dover Police Department at (302) 736-7111 or Shawn.harrington@cj.state.de.us , or Hal Brown, Deputy Director, Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, at (302) 577-3420. The case is listed in the National Missing and Unidentified Persons Database at: http://www.identifyus.org/en/cases/10778

To view or download the reconstruction photos, go to: http://www.flickr.com/photos/deldhss/sets/72157645489931013/