New sketch of unidentified murder victim is key breakthrough in cold case

Reporter: Nicole Lauren
Published: Updated:
John Doe from 26 year old cold case murder

A new sketch is key in a breakthrough about a cold case murder thought to be the work of a serial killer in Southwest Florida.

The victim’s body was found in the woods and after challenges Id’ing the person, he was labeled John Doe number one.

26 years later and cold case detectives are hoping the new image will help them crack the case.

It was in February of 1994 when the man’s body was found in the woods near a desolate Charlotte County intersection.

Detective Mike Gandy was there when the body was recovered. For years this case left detectives with questions—until now.

“We found him and after the investigation, we couldn’t figure out who he was,” Detective Gandy said.

Forensic imaging was done by the sheriff’s office in West Palm Beach, and today we now have a better idea of what this John Doe might look like.

But this case is not so simple because after John Doe’s body was found in the woods, years later two more bodies were found not far from there.

Bodies linked to a suspected serial killer named Daniel Conahan, who is already on death row.

“We have a big county here but to have them be that close in that short time period is more than a coincidence I would say,” Detective Gandy said.

Conahan was known for tying up his victims to take photographs of them and then murder them.

Near John Doe’s body, they found rope marks on a tree which is the most substantial clue that could link his death to Conahan.

“He was able to capture them with a lure of a little bit of money and once he had them, he assaulted them and murdered them,” Detective Gandy said.

Crimestoppers Trish Routte says someone watching is the key to figuring this cold case out.

“Once we get that out we’re going to share that with our national partners—our regional partners and hopes that we just get in front of that one person that is going to be able to say… I think I know who this person is I know what happened to them, said Routte.

If you think you recognize the unknown man in the sketch, call Crimestoppers at 800-780-TIPS.


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