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Crime Trackers: Marana police dig into 1991 cold case

MARANA, Ariz. – For nearly 30 years, the remains of John Doe were in the Pima County cemetery.

His charred remains were found by a man on a motorcycle in the desert area of Tangerine Road and Dove Mountain on July 23, 1991. Today, there is a resort, shopping center and homes in that area.

Sgt. Jeff Pridgett of the Marana Police Department said the case originally went to the Pima County Sheriff’s Department because MPD  is a small department.  He said initially, they released the remains where that of a Caucasian male.

With no witnesses and leads, the case quickly grew cold.

In May of 2018, Marana detectives came upon the case and took it back from PCSD. They had the remains exhumed and sent the skull the FBI.

Recently, the FBI sent them a facial reconstruction of John Doe. It turned out he was not a white male, but a Hispanic man five feet, six inches tall and weighed 140 pounds.  He was between 25 and 45 years old.

It was also determined he had been shot and then burned.

Pridgett said a unique characteristic was the man had a front tooth missing. Also, police found at the scene a pair of aviator glasses.

He added there was evidence gathered at the scene but they did not have the technology to test for DNA back then.  Today, it is a different ball game.

He hopes someone will recognize the man in hopes of giving family members closure.

If you recognize him call 911 or call Marana Police non-emergency number at 520-382-2000.

You can also call 88-CRIME if you want to remain anonymous.

Lupita Murillo

Lupita Murillo

Lupita Murillo is an investigative reporter. She is part of the Digging Deeper team that uncovers important issues focusing on crime that affects the community.
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