KSP working to identify 30-year-old case of man found without hands

A recent DNA sample could help authorities bring closure to the man’s family.
KSP working to identify man who was dead, hands severed, in 1989
Updated: Apr. 7, 2021 at 8:31 PM EDT
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GRANT COUNTY, Ky. (FOX19) - Kentucky State Police are need help identifying a man found dead with his hands severed more than 30 years ago.

Authorities say the man was discovered on April 9, 1989 near Williamstown in a tobacco barn on State Route 22. The man’s death is being investigated as a homicide.

The owner of the barn found the man’s body. According to KSP Post 6 Trooper Cory Elliot, he was never a suspect in the man’s death.

“It’s a sad case to be honest with you,” Elliot said.

Elliot explains the man was unrecognizable because he was so decomposed. Then there’s the issue of his hands.

“Someone had physically removed them from his arms,” he said. “Fingerprints were a large part of the technology in that time. We still utilize it today, but they were very limited.”

A sketch was made in 2009 showing what the man might have looked like. Another was made in July 2016 based off the man’s bone structure.

Investigators think the man is between 25 and 35 years old.

They say he was a 6′5″ white man around 220 lbs. with brown hair and brown eyes.

Elliot says there’s been recent progress in the case, as authorities exhumed the man’s body and pulled a DNA sample. They entered that sample into a database and are still waiting on a match.

“We’re very hopeful that we are going to get a match,” he said.

Elliot says finding a match could bring the family, whoever they are, some closure.

“We don’t have any family to contact,” he said. “It’s really sad. The family, they never had that peace of mind. There’s someone out there who’s missing a son, or an uncle, or a dad.”

If you have any information, you’re urged to contact KSP Post 6 (859) 428-1212.

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