Livermore: Authorities release digital image of cold case homicide victim

Sheriff's office seeks public's help in identifying man whose torso was found in 1997

Alameda County sheriff's investigators are hoping the public can help them solve a 1997 homicide with the help of an image of the victim created with recent technology.

Only a torso of a man was found on May 27, 1997, near Burns and Christensen roads in unincorporated Livermore. Deputies have tried for years to identify the man through traditional means such as matching a DNA sample of the man with DNA on file, but have been unsuccessful.

For the first time, sheriff's officials are using recent technology to provide the public with an image of the person that might jog someone's memory.

The technology is called phenotyping, which predicts a person's appearance and ancestry based on DNA that does not match any on file.

"We're hoping this will help," Alameda County sheriff's spokesman Sgt. Ray Kelly said.

Killers have in the past cut up their victims to prevent them from being identified through fingerprints and facial recognition, the main ways deputies identified victims in the late 1990s, Kelly said.

Phenotyping creates an image of the victim based on continental origin, hair color, eye color and facial structure.

The image released by the Sheriff's Office suggests that the victim descends from a northern or western European family, has either few or no freckles, reddish brown or black hair, hazel or brown eyes and fair skin.

He is believed to be between 26 and 32 years old and about 5 feet 7 inches tall.

The image is unlikely to be a replica of the man because, for example, it is not adjusted for factors such as smoking, drinking, diet, hairstyle and scars.

Information about what kind of clothing the victim might have worn at the time his remains were discovered were also unknown.

Investigators hope this image will lead to the first clue in the investigation. The first step in solving a murder is knowledge of the victim's identity, Kelly said.

Investigators have tried to match the phenotype image with missing persons, but so far without success, Kelly said.

The man could have come from anywhere in the country and been dumped in unincorporated Livermore. He is just one of tens of thousands of missing persons in the United States.

— Bay City News Service

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