Newton County John Does

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The Newton County John Does, also dubbed Adam and Brad, or simply as Victims A and B or Victims 3 and 4, are two young unidentified males whose remains were discovered with those of two other men on October 18, 1983 in Lake Village, Newton County, Indiana by mushroom foragers.[1] Their nicknames were given by Newton County coroner Scott McCord, elected in 2008, to remember that they were people. He learned that the "victims had never been identified, returned to any family or buried". He renewed the investigation, recruiting Stephen Nawrocki, a noted forensic anthropologist at the University of Indianapolis, to examine the remains and help develop descriptions of the victims.[2] Nawrocki also gained the assistance of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, whose experts drew portraits of the young men.

Background[edit]

All four of the victims were murdered by Larry Eyler, a serial killer of young men in the 1980s who maintained residences in Terre Haute and Chicago. The Newton County victims had each been bound, drugged, and stabbed more than twenty-four times. Their remains were buried lying face up near an abandoned barn.[1][2][3] Two of the four victims found at the scene have since been identified by dental records as Michael Bauer and John Bartlett.[4][5]

A major reason why neither Adam nor Brad has been identified is because Eyler did not know who they were, unlike the rest of his victims. In addition, he was known to dispose of any identification that he would find on his victims.[1] Hoping to make a plea bargain, Eyler had made a list of his victims while awaiting execution in the 1990s for a 1984 murder in Chicago. He died of AIDS before his execution date.

The two young men found in Newton County are possibly native to the Midwestern states of Indiana, Wisconsin or Illinois. However, it is possible that they could have been from anywhere in the United States, as Eyler also confessed to some killings in Kentucky.[6] As of January 2014, neither has been buried, as the investigation is still being conducted. Their dental records and DNA are being stored in national databases.[2]

Eyler usually knew his murder victims to be gay. Adam and Brad may have been hitchhikers or male prostitutes who had been disowned by their families, if, in fact, they were gay.[1] Besides these two, the Jasper County John Doe, also unidentified in Indiana, is another victim of Eyler.[4]

The two victims' faces were reconstructed several times, twice by sketching and once digitally, by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.[7] The facial reconstructions by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children reportedly took approximately eighteen months to complete.[1]

"Adam"[edit]

"Adam"
Digital image created from CT scans of skulls to depict an estimation of the victim in life
Most recent reconstruction created by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
Born approx. 1964 – 1968
Status Unidentified for 34 years, 10 months and 23 days
Died 1982 - 1983 (aged 15 – 18)
Lake Village, Newton County, Indiana
Cause of death Homicide by stabbing
Body discovered October 18, 1983
Other names "Victim A," "Victim 3"
Known for Unidentified victim of homicide
Height Between 5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)
and 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)(approximate)
Weight Between 140 lb (64 kg)
and 160 lb (73 kg)(approximate)

Victim A, or Adam, a black male, was around fifteen to eighteen years of age, but may have been as old as twenty.[2][6] He had a distinct red and black belt, inscribed with the word "devil" multiple times.[6] The buckle contained the word "jeans".[1] A pair of jeans and pajama bottoms were found on his remains, along with a pair of boots. The boots were made in the Hush Puppies design and had metal buckles to fasten them on each side.[1][8] He was between five feet eight inches to six feet two inches and is believed to have been a hitchhiker who was picked up by Larry Eyler in 1983 before being murdered.[5][7][9][10] Eyler described the boy to be between fifteen and twenty years old and confirmed the suspicion that he had been picked up near Terre Haute, Indiana. Eyler had previously targeted hitchhikers after he had relationship troubles with his partner.[4] Investigator Scott McCord believes that Adam was likely native to the region, perhaps from around Chicago or St. Louis.[2] He was also previously known as Victim 3, as he was one of four to be found at the burial site.

McCord stated that he preferred to use names instead of numbers when he referred to the victims.[1][6] Like most of Larry Eyler's other victims, Adam had his pants pulled down to his ankles.[4]

In a confession letter released by Larry Eyler's defense attorney Kathleen Zellner, Eyler said that after an argument with his boyfriend, he drove toward Terre Haute, Indiana in the third week of July 1983.[11] While traveling through the town, he met a hitchhiker who matched Adam's description. Further in the document, it was described that the young man was offered seventy-five dollars to allow Eyler to "perform a sexual act" with him. After Eyler drugged the young man with alcohol and an unspecified drug, he took him to the barn; the young man's body was later found buried nearby. Subsequently, he was bound, blindfolded and was eventually stabbed multiple times in his upper and lower midsection. According to Eyler, his last words to the man were, "Okay, make your peace with God, nigger."[4]

Eyler wrote that he buried Adam separately from the three other victims he had previously murdered. He said it was "not proper" to bury an African American with European Americans.[4]

"Brad"[edit]

"Brad"
Digital image created from CT scans of skulls to depict an estimation of the victim in life
Most recent reconstruction created by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
Born approx. 1958 – 1966
Status Unidentified for 34 years, 10 months and 23 days
Died 1981 - 1983 (aged 17 – 23)
Lake Village, Newton County, Indiana
Cause of death Homicide by stabbing
Body discovered October 18, 1983
Other names "Victim B," "Victim 4"
Known for Unidentified victim of homicide
Height Between 5 ft 2 in (1.57 m)
and 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)(approximate)
Weight Between 130 lb (59 kg)
and 160 lb (73 kg)(approximate)

Victim B, or Brad, was determined to have been a white male and, like Adam, could have been a hitchhiker.[6] He was between seventeen and twenty-three years old, and may have been a smoker. He had two tattoos on his forearm, which were later photographed after his body was cleaned and rehydrated.[12] One was a cross with two circular marks, located on the underside of his arm, near his wrist. The other was a rectangular, or possibly a "U" shape, containing one circular mark, which was found on the other side of his arm.[13]

Rough reconstruction of Brad's tattoo

He wore mismatched socks and jockey undershorts, along with brown slacks, which were partially removed, as was typical of other victims.[4] Brad wore boots, which were ankle-high, hiking-style, with brown fleece interior. Metal eyelets were used to fasten them.[13] Brad's boots are no longer available for examination.[4] Because of the type of tattoos he had, he may have served time in jail or a juvenile detention center.[11]

He was likely shorter than Adam, approximately five feet two inches to five feet ten inches tall; weighing around 130 to 160 pounds.[1] Some reports said that he could have been as old as twenty-eight and may have been as tall as six feet one inch.[7] He had wavy reddish hair, and some dental fillings. His death was estimated as between 1981 and 1983, although his tattoos were still preserved and recognizable. He had at one time fractured his nose and ankle, breaks described as somewhat severe.[14][15] His body was found buried in the same grave as Bartlett and Bauer.[4] Like Adam, he was given a more generic name in the past, as Victim 4.[1]

Brad and Adam may have been from as far away as Canada, which is another reason why they remain unidentified.[6] DNA was obtained from one of Brad's bones, intended for testing in comparison to a family who could have been related to him.[4] Larry Eyler did not remember where or when he met Brad.[11][12]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Penner, Diana (27 October 2013). "Indiana Unsolved: Identities sought for 2 victims of 'The Highway Killer' Larry Eyler". Indy Star. Retrieved 14 August 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Cortopassi, Ray (28 February 2012). "Prosecutor working to identify Highway Murderer's victims". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 14 August 2014. 
  3. ^ "Four victims of a serial killer found together, two remain unidentified". missingkids.org. National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Retrieved 11 December 2014. [permanent dead link]
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Schmadeke, Steve (12 October 2010). "Indiana coroners press to identify 3 young men slain by 1980s Chicago serial killer". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 14 August 2014. 
  5. ^ a b "Case File: 999UMIN". doenetwork.org. The Doe Network. Retrieved 1 August 2014. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f Bernsee, Eric (6 February 2012). "Efforts under way to ID two unidentified victims of Eyler". Banner Graphic. Retrieved 14 August 2014. 
  7. ^ a b c "Forensic Artist Gives Faces to Unidentified Victims" (PDF). AOL.com. AOL News. 17 March 2010. Retrieved 15 August 2014. 
  8. ^ "Case Report - NamUs UP # 6011". identifyus.org. National Missing and Unidentified Persons System. 8 October 2009. 
  9. ^ "John Doe 1983". missingkids.org. National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Retrieved 1 August 2014. 
  10. ^ "Indiana State Police Seek Help Identifying 1983 Murder Victims". 6 March 2013. Retrieved 18 April 2014. 
  11. ^ a b c Zambo, Kristen (11 August 2011). "Newton County: Coroner hoping to identify 2 more". Archived from the original on 24 December 2014. Retrieved 15 August 2014. 
  12. ^ a b "Brad Doe - 1983". canyouidentifyme.org. 3 January 2011. Retrieved 15 August 2014. 
  13. ^ a b "Case Report - NamUs UP # 6105". identifyus.org. National Missing and Unidentified Persons System. 27 October 2009. Retrieved 15 August 2014. 
  14. ^ "John Doe 1983". missingkids.org. National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Retrieved 1 August 2014. 
  15. ^ "Case File: 1384UMIN". doenetwork.org. The Doe Network. Retrieved 1 August 2014. 

External links[edit]