Body of man found in Ohio River remains unidentified

Body found in Ohio River remains unidentified more than a year later

GALLATIN COUNTY, Ky. (FOX19) - For more than a year, Gallatin County Coroner Ken Lafferty has been trying to figure out the identity of a man whose body was found in the Ohio River.

“It’s been over a year and we’ve had no luck whatsoever,” Lafferty told FOX19 NOW on Wednesday.

In February of 2019, workers at the Markland Dam saw the man’s body in the locks. According to the coroner, the man did not have any tattoos or identification on him. He was completely nude but for one sock and a shoe.

“Everything we normally use to identify a body, we did not have on him,” Lafferty said.

According to Lafferty, the man had been in the water long enough that Gallatin County Deputies were unable to recover any fingerprints from the body. The coroner also says the man’s teeth had previously been pulled out, and it was likely he wore dentures even though he wasn’t found with any in.

Examiners say the man was white and between 58 and 68 years old. They think he was around 5′11″ weighing 240 pounds. When he was found, he was bald on the top of the head but had grayish black hair around the side of the head. He also had a grey beard 4-5 inches long and bushy grey eyebrows.

After several months of trying to get the man identified, the community decided to give him a burial in a graveyard next to Paint Lick Baptist Church in Warsaw, Ky.

The coroner says they said a prayer for him.

“The worst thing is we have no name to go with him,” he said.

The man's grave marker reads, "Unknown White Male. Found at Markland Dam, February 22, 2019."

Around the same time as his burial, the coroner contacted the National Missing and Unidentified persons system, known as NaMUS, to get a DNA profile made of the man.

“They’re running through all their databanks to hopefully get a match,” Lafferty explained.

He adds they are hoping a match will pop up either in a criminal database or a family member will submit DNA to a different one.

“There’s got to be a family somewhere who’s missing this man, probably looking for him and they have no idea where he’s at.”

The coroner says the autopsy found the man had a heart condition, but they still do not know how he died or how he ended up in the river. However, foul play has been ruled out.

If you have any idea who this man might be, you’re asked to call the Gallatin County Coroner’s office at (859) 655-5741.

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