The movie "Rain Man" was a hit at the box office. "Two Hearts" by Phil Collins was on top of the pop charts. George H.W. Bush had been President for just four days. That's when a badly decomposed body was found near an orange grove near Dade City.
The original case detective worked to identify the man for years. By the mid-1990s, the case became cold. But earlier this year, Detective David Boyer decided to take a second look at the case.
"When former forensic investigator Melanie Taylor and I were looking over the case, we came across some very significant information," he said.
The information may be the dead man's name, "Randy." He was wearing blue, uniform-style pants with the name Randy printed on an inside label.
The man had been dead for six months, possibly longer, when he was found. Because of that, detectives were unable to identify several tattoos on Randy's left arm.
Boyer hoped the tattoos would become valuable evidence to help identify the body. Boyer said that former forensic investigator Melanie Taylor had the opportunity to look at the tattoo, and said she thought she could re-hydrate it.
The technique worked. Boyer now has a full color photograph of the tattoos. With key pieces of evidence falling into place, Boyer took the next step and asked USF anthropologist Erin Kimmerle to use Randy's skull to fashion a composite photo.
Monday, Boyer released the picture of a thin man with long red hair and prominent teeth.
According to Kimmerle, that could be enough to jog memories from 23 years ago.
"The number one way in which missing children are found is that somebody recognizes their face," Kimmerle said.
Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco said, while the case may be cold, it's still active.
"Pasco County is not going to have the reputation that just because at the time of the incident we can't figure what happened, and we drop the case, and we forget about it," he said.
Nocco recalled the case of Amy Rose Hurst, who vanished in 1982. Last summer, detectives began reassembling evidence connected to the disappearance. Almost 30 years after her body was found floating in the Gulf of Mexico, her estranged husband William was arrested for her murder.
Nocco insisted whoever shot Randy twice in the late 1980s will likewise be caught eventually. Anyone with information about Randy is asked to call Pasco Detective David Boyer at 352-518-5002.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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