Rare birth defect could help solve a 20-year-old mysterious death

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GREENWOOD, Ind. (Apr. 25, 2014) — New information in a mysterious death– 20 years in the making.

On Thursday, we told you about kids who found a set of bones in a field in Greenwood. Now, that kid is grown up and talking about it two decades later. We also now know that a rare birth defect could be what helps solve this mystery.

Jake Hehman took FOX59 to the area where he found those bones back in April of 1993.

“I think it was the femur is what we actually found,” said Jake Hehman. “Little 7-year-old boy, I had no idea what it was. I bring it home, throw it on the back porch and go out digging for more.”

His mother, Beth Hehman, remembers taking a look at the bones herself.

“I said well, that looks like a human tail bone to me,” Beth said.

She then took them over to a neighbor, who knew immediately they were human bones.

“They called the police and, in just a matter of minutes, it was just everywhere,” Ms. Hehman said.

“It seemed like they were out there forever. Out there for the rest of the night and then the next day you’d wake up and they were out there searching for more,” Jake said.

Greenwood’s mayor Mark Myers was a police detective on the case at the time, and he recalls the intense search of the field.

“We just went out and literally combed that entire field. Divided it in to grid section and searched quite a large section of that field looking for just any little piece of bone that we could find to put together,” Myers said.

DNA proved it is a man, and detectives think he was killed in the very early 1990s. His skeleton was damaged by farm machines at the time, his jaw, teeth and other parts are missing, making identifying him very difficult.

“It was just a really difficult case,” Myers said.

There is one thing that may help figure out who he is. The man has a birth defect that only about 5 percent of the population has.

“There are two holes in their sternum, that particular type of birth defect from time to time I’m told runs in families. It’s the type of birth defect that would appear in a chest x-ray,” said Det. Sgt. Eric Klinkowski, with the Greenwood Police Department.

Will that be what helps solve this and tell police John Doe’s real name?

“That’s the great mystery, who is this,” Klinkowski said.

If you know something that can help find the shooter, you’re asked to call police or crime stoppers. You can call them in at 317-262-TIPS(8477), 1-800-222-TIPS or http://www.crimetips.org. You can also send a text message. Text “INDYCS” plus your message to 274637 (CRIMES). The message to take home when submitting tips is that you can, and will remain anonymous.

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