In August 2001, a fisherman in Marked Tree, Arkansas discovered a partial skull while fishing in a ditch off the St. Francis River. The remains were discovered in a wooded area along the river, near the old siphons on Lock and Dam Road. No additional remains that were matched to the unidentified young man were recovered.
DNA testing performed by investigators confirmed that the skull was that of a Black male, who investigators believe was likely between the ages of 16 and 19 years old at the time of his death. However, due to the limited recovery of the unknown young man’s remains, investigators were unable to make definitive determinations about his hair color, eye color, height, or weight during his life. Investigators did note a slightly healed fracture to the young man’s nose, although they were unable to determine when the injury had occurred. Additionally, investigators observed that all of the young man’s upper teeth had been broken off and no mandible was recovered, so his dental characteristics are unknown. Investigators believe that he died more than a year prior to the discovery of his remains, and that it is possible that his death was a homicide.
Since the discovery of the unknown young man’s remains, law enforcement investigators have diligently pursued various leads about his identity, but none have returned a match for his identity. A composite sketch was created by a Forensic Artist at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, depicting what the man may have looked like during his life. In September 2009, the case was entered into the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) as #UP5876. Despite the exhaustive efforts of law enforcement, the man’s identity has remained a mystery. With few leads for investigators to pursue, the case went cold.
In 2023, the Poinsett County Sheriff’s Office partnered with Othram to determine if advanced forensic DNA testing could help establish an identity for the man or a close relative. Anyone with information that could aid in this investigation is encouraged to contact the Poinsett County Sheriff Department by calling 870-578-5411 and referencing agency case P01-541 or NamUs ID #UP5876.
A DNASolves crowdfund has been created to raise funds for the remaining casework costs. Anyone can contribute here.