The Doe Network -- the group of online, amateur sleuths who've helped track down dozens of cold cases -- have contributed to the unravelling of another mystery. And this is one of their odder cases yet: a murder victim, thought to have been killed in the 1970's, turns out to have been dead for more than a century.The skeleton, found with a hole in the skull, "is not a 'modern' homicide of a teenager," Kentucky state forensic anthropologist Dr. Emily Craig wrote to local officials in Jefferson County. "It is a disturbed grave, most likely from the mid or late 1800s.""Craig's letter was forwarded from the coroner's office to Louisville Metro Police," the Courier-Journal notes, "where Lt. Mike Veto still had the packet on his desk yesterday afternoon. 'It was listed as an unsolved homicide, but it'll be changed now,' he said."
The remains were found on Labor Day 1988.Four boys discovered them while digging in a spot where they played behind their homes in the Villa Ana subdivision off Dixie Highway...Ron Howard, then a sergeant with the Jefferson County Police, recalled that he and his detectives worked the case."There was a human being, and we didn't know what circumstances led to the death and it could have been a homicide," Howard said yesterday. "You spend a lot of frustrating time because there's no direction to take so you go in all directions."The case was cold when Craig pulled it; she wanted to review it after Todd Matthews, a volunteer with the Doe Network, which tries to identify remains, sent her a question about it. Matthews needed more information other than age, race and gender..."The bones were discolored and deteriorated," Craig said. "They were much more than they should have been for a recent death."The X-rays of hardware showed pins and nails. The nails did not look modern, she said...As for the body... it was positioned as if it were in a coffin.She explained the hole in the skull as typical bone deterioration. "The bones had simply deteriorated to the point the thin bones of the skull were gone," Craig said.