Rock County John Doe

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"Rock County John Doe"
Clinton WI John Doe.jpg
2014 reconstruction of the decedent.
Born 1974–1977 (approximate)
Status Unidentified for 22 years, 10 months and 22 days
Died Either by November of 1994 or May–June of 1995
Cause of death Undetermined, possibly hypothermia
Body discovered 10027 Waite Road, Beloit 42°35′48″N 88°50′48″W / 42.596629°N 88.846621°W / 42.596629; -88.846621
Resting place Johnstown Center Cemetery, Rock County, Wisconsin
Other names "John Clinton Doe"
Height Between 5 ft 5 in (1.65 m)
and 5 ft 7 in (1.70 m)(approximate)
Weight 140 lb (64 kg) (approximate)

Rock County John Doe, commonly referred as John Clinton Doe, is the name given to unidentified skeletal remains estimated to be a young adult or teenaged white male, which were found alongside Turtle Creek near Clinton, Rock County, Wisconsin on November 26, 1995.[1] Currently, at the request of law enforcement, the DNA Doe Project has taken on the case and is in the early stages of their investigation.[2]


The nearly complete skeleton was found by a hunting party at approximately 9:00 AM within private property alongside the creek, in a remote, densely wooded 100-acre area owned by the hunters. The skeleton was mostly complete and articulated, lying on its belly, with its hands over the head while the head and back were partially covered by a denim jacket. The body still wore age-fitting clothes[clarification needed], save for a shoe, and was located on a steep embankment, ten feet from the creek and four feet from the barbed wire fence of the property.

It was initially estimated that the deceased died in the fall or winter of 1994, about one year before he was found, but recent comparisons with modern forensic facility research suggests that he may have died in the summer of 1995, around five months before his discovery.

The cause of death is currently unknown, as no signs of trauma were found on the skeleton: a homicide is deemed unlikely, and no other causes could be determined. Analysis of his hair found no conclusive traces of cocaine, codeine or morphine, making it unlikely that he had a long-term opioid addiction; however, this does not exclude the possibility that he was intoxicated or that he took hallucinogenic drugs before his death. It is commonly believed that he died from hypothermia from getting soaked in the creek, perhaps after getting intoxicated and becoming disoriented as a result.

The skull was cremated while the rest of the skeleton was buried in Johnstown Center Cemetery, Rock County, Wisconsin. His DNA and dental records are available.

Physical description[edit]

The Caucasian male stood approximately 66'', or between 5 feet 4 inches or (1.65 m) and 5 feet 6 inches (1.70 m). His weight was estimated to be approximately 140 lb (64 kg). He was estimated to be between 17 and 20 years old. He had straight teeth and seemed to have received good dental care with only one or two fillings, and still had his wisdom teeth, with two having partially erupted and one being impacted.

The decedent wore a T-shirt with the trademarked logo of the heavy metal group "Venom" on the back, which contains a golden five-pointed star surrounded by a circle with a goat head at the center and the caption "Welcome to hell" and " ©Venom 1987"; gray urban camouflage fatigues of small/medium size; a lined flannel red and green jacket with a plaid design; size medium/34 boxer underwear with a Bart Simpson design; and a 1993 size 9-1/2 Black Nike Air Bound basketball shoe. Only one of the shoes were found at the site, lying near the skeleton.[3]

The young man carried a distinctive pendant made from a dinner fork, shaped like the head of a goat. Other items found with the body were cigarette butts, a Budweiser disposable butane lighter with the caption "Proud to be Your Bud" printed on it, a tube of Carmex lip balm, and a black Aquatech watch.

His clothes, pendant and hair suggest that he was a heavy metal music aficionado and, as such, familiar with metal subculture, but investigations in the local metal circles did not bring conclusive results about his identity.

Several facial approximations were publicly released over time. The first reconstruction released by Project Edan in 2013 is currently considered to be inaccurate by authorities. The second reconstruction released in 2014 by the FBI is considered by official agencies to be the most accurate to date, depicting a 20-year-old youth with collar long[clarification needed], dark feathery hair and high cheek bones. A third, colored and age-regressed version of the FBI approximation, regressed to approximately age 16, was released to the public in February 2016 to help identification.[4]


1994 Eyewitness sketch of the man dubbed "River Guy", believed to possibly be the same man as “John Clinton Doe".

"River Guy"[edit]

Several witnesses remember seeing, on October 16, 1994 around 5:30 PM, a young man in his early twenties near the same area where the body was found. The man, who was wearing similar clothing as found with John Clinton Doe, was seen running and stumbling in Turtle Creek, visibly intoxicated and distraught. Dubbed "River Guy" by local investigators, he was reported by witnesses to have fallen in the water two or three times, trying to climb up the embankment and yelling at bystanders, telling them to get away from him. He also mentioned being wronged by a woman named Mary and being a fugitive. He was then seen sitting on the creek bank after his ramblings. Contrary to the FBI approximation of JCD, the 1994 police artist facial composite of "River Guy" shows him as having a light beard.

It is commonly believed by those close to the case that River Guy and John Clinton Doe are the same person. However, this hypothesis is challenged by the recent forensic estimations based on body decomposition rates that JCD may have died later than originally determined, as late as May, 1995. As such this new range of the possible time of death (as late as the spring of 1995) does not correspond as closely with the date of "River Guy" sightings.

The pendant[edit]

In 2010, the distinctive goat pendant was traced by the Rock County Sheriff's detective working the case to a Janesville area craftsman. Active in the local metal scene, the man claims to have made the pendant as well as sold or given similar items to a dozen people. However none of these people could be traced back as John Clinton Doe.[5]

Isotopic analysis[edit]

Isotopic analysis of the bones conducted in 2014 with the help of Smithsonian Institution scientists[6] showed that the young man was from or had spent a significant amount of time in the Midwestern area, around the Great Lakes, which includes the states of Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota and Michigan.[7] This, with the provenance of the goat pendant leads investigators to believe that the decedent was not living very far from where he was found.



  1. ^ "Find JCD Project". Jack Friess. Retrieved 3 October 2016.
  2. ^ "John Clinton Doe". DNA Doe Project. Retrieved 10 October 2018.
  3. ^ "Investigation #3: John Clinton Doe Clothing Renderings". Retrieved 3 October 2016.
  4. ^ Irizarry, Jaleesa (19 February 2016). "UPDATE: New hope in Rock County cold case". WMTV. Retrieved 3 October 2016.
  5. ^ "Investigation #3: John Clinton Doe". Retrieved 3 October 2016.
  6. ^ Jemison, Micaela (23 July 2014). "Smithsonian/Wisconsin police narrow search in 20 years mystery". Smithsonian Insider. Retrieved 3 October 2016.
  7. ^ "Smithsonian/Testing gives clues in John Doe case". Channel3000. 11 July 2014. Retrieved 3 October 2016.

External links[edit]