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Who is ‘Mr. X?’ Kenton County cold-case investigation stuck at the starting line

Detectives have scoured missing persons reports from across the country trying to identify a man killed 39 years ago.
Published: Nov. 3, 2021 at 8:41 PM EDT
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INDEPENDENCE, Ky. (WXIX) - Cold-case investigators are holding on to hope that someone comes forward with information about a decades-old homicide shrouded in mystery.

At the center of the riddle is a man who has never been identified. He lives in the recesses of evidence lockers and case files at the Kenton County Police Department by the inglorious sobriquet, ‘Mr. X.’

Thursday, Nov. 4 is the anniversary of the day in 1982 his body was discovered in a Kenton County park. His death was ruled a homicide, but the investigation couldn’t get far without solving the riddle of X’s identity.

“We can’t even investigate the homicide until we know who he is,” said Kenton County Police Detective Brian Jones.

Jones has been working X’s case for the last few years. How many hours he’s spent looking into missing persons cases from across the country trying to find a match based on the few identifying characteristics that exist, Jones can’t say.

Still, the search continues.

As the facts go, X was found near a wooded area in Locust Pike Park by two park workers. His body had been there at least a few days, according to Jones.

The death was ruled a homicide due to the man’s cause of death: blunt-force trauma to the neck and head.

“The opinion of the coroner of the time,” Jones explained, “was that he was dumped at the scene and did not die there. Besides that, we don’t know anything else.”

The detective was hoping to have X’s body exhumed for DNA but later learned it had been cremated: “No luck there.”

There are, however, some pieces of evidence at the police station—clothing, a baseball hat found nearby—that Jones has submitted for analysis.

X could have been experiencing homelessness, Jones says, but it’s unknown whether he was from the area.

He’s described as a man 60-65 years old with gray hair and brown eyes.

He has several scars on his arms and his left leg. He also has several tattoos, including the word “mother” and possibly “in memory” as well as the name “Helen.”

Jones hopes someone will do some digging into their family’s past.

“Not a single person has called to say, ‘Hey, I think this might be one of my family members, one of my friends,’” he said. “It’s a little sad that he has no friends, no family.”

If you have any information, you’re urged to call Kenton County Police.

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