*Joe Doe 1961*
Date of Discovery: March 27, 1961
Location of Discovery: Centreville, Bibb County, Alabama
Estimated Date of Death: Minutes prior
State of Remains: Recognizable face
Cause of Death: Drowning and a broken neck
Estimated Age: 14-17 years old
Height: 5’6″ to 5’8″
Weight: 120 lbs.
Hair: Light brown. His hair appeared to have been bleached. His eyebrows and eyelashes were dark brown.
Eye Color: Blue
Distinguishing Marks/Features: The autopsy revealed he might have walked with a slight limp. Smoker. Tattoo with inscription “RY in LOVE” or “RY + LOVE”
Dentals: Not Available.
Fingerprints: Not Available.
Clothing & Personal Items
Clothing: Clothing worn by the boy is unknown.
Jewelry: Timex wrist watch.
Additional Personal Items: Carrying bag with several long sleeve shirts and pants made from heavy fabric, a brown plastic wallet without any identification, a photograph of the decedent with a girl, and a pack of Pall Mall cigarettes with a South Carolina tax stamp.
Circumstances of Discovery
The decedent was a hitchhiker who drowned after the vehicle he was riding in collided with the bridge rail and plunged into the Cahaba River near River Bend.
Additionally, he had broken his neck and his hand in two places. The driver survived the accident and explained the boy gave some, but few details about his life.
The boy told the driver that he had run away from home after his parents separated. He was faced with a choice of living in an orphanage or joining the Navy (despite the fact he was believed to be too young for the military). He stated he did not care where he was going.
The clothing the boy carried with him indicated he may have been from up north. The cigarettes he carried were from South Carolina.
His body was displayed for a few days at a funeral home, where it was observed by travelers from across the country. An elderly, heavyset, and gray-haired woman was noticed to have spent more time than others when viewing the body. She returned a second day in a row, but left before any information could be taken from her.
The boy was later buried in the Centreville Cemetery several weeks after he died. The community funded his funeral and burial.
A woman from Huntsville believed the boy was their own, until a discrepancy with the eye color indicated the decedent was not her child.
His remains were exhumed in June 2016 to obtain DNA information and were reburied the same day. The profile did not match those available in the missing persons database. The body was later reburied.
*Information from the Doe Network*