Sketch released of a man murdered 31 years ago

JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - A picture could finally give detectives answers 31 years after a man was found murdered.

Pascagoula Detective Darren Versiga found out about the man just two years ago when he was re-opening another cold case. The man's remains were being stored in Oklahoma where the autopsy was done in 1982.

Versiga sent the man's remains off to a volunteer artist with Project Everyone Deserves A Name. The artist has just created a computer generated sketch of what the murdered man may have looked like.

"I sent off for DNA testing. Once that was complete, they sent those remains to UNT under the direction of Todd Matthews, and basically they did a reconstruction of it and it looks like a real photo," Versiga said.

Versiga said there was no DNA match, but now that he has a picture he hopes someone will be able to recognize the man.

He was found on December 8, 1982, in the Dog River underneath the eastbound lane of Interstate 10 in Jackson County. Divers were searching the water after a young girl was found floating four days earlier. She has never been identified either.

The two were found only 60 yards from one another.

"The black male was found thrown off the bridge it seemed like. He was shot is what the pathologist had confirmed," Versiga said. "We don't know if he is from the area or was driven here and thrown off the bridge."

Investigators believe the man was between 18 and 22-years-old, weighed about 120 pounds and was about 5'6".

"We have the clothing that was found then, and now we have a face to put to that man that has been unidentified since 1982," Versiga said.

The man was found wearing brown pants and a Hawaiian printed shirt. Investigators believe he had been dead six months to three years before he was found.

"Hopefully we will bring closure to a family somewhere," Versiga said.

If you have any information about who the man is, you are asked to call the Pascagoula Police Department at 228-762-2211.

If detectives are able to identify him, they can begin asking questions to try and find his killer.

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