Texas forensic artist assists in Delaware death investigation

While it’s made to look easy on television dramas, the identification of decomposed remains usually takes longer than 60 minutes.

For almost two years, the Dover Police Department has tried to identify the remains of a man whose decomposed body was found in Kent County. Recently, the DPD recieved some extra help from a three-dimensional artist in Texas. 

The unidentified man’s body was discovered in November of 2012 in a wooded area near West Rustic Lane/Crawford Carroll Drive in Dover. Police estimate the man was between 35 to 45-years-old and was dead for approximately three months before the discovery of remains.

Due to the advanced state of decomposition, other identification attempts were unsuccessful.

Leslie Willingham, a deputy at the Denton County Sheriff’s Department in Texas, heard about the case in Delaware and reached out to the medical examiner’s office to offer her assistance.

Willingham has extensive experience in forensic art and has assisted federal and state agencies with forensic art cases.

Police provided the man’s hair features as well as photographs of his tattoos. A CT scan of the skull was preformed in Wilmington, and the information was sent Willingham, who then created the 3-D reconstruction.

“It is created so that someone who sees the reconstruction might realize that he looks like someone they know,” Willingham said. “His eyes may be a different color, the shape of his eyes and mouth may be slightly different. They are artistic representations based on the best available scientific information.”

Anyone who recognizes the man should contact the Dover Police Department at (302) 736-7111.

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