Officials have reconstructed the face of an unidentified man whose body was found in the Neuse River in 2017 and are asking for the public’s help to identify him.
The Wake County Sheriff’s Office made the two-dimensional skull reconstruction. The Smithfield Police Department is asking for the public’s assistance to identify the body, using the reconstruction image.
An N.C. Department of Transportation crew found the body in the Neuse River in Smithfield on April 25, 2017, when the crew was removing debris around the support columns of the Neuse River Bridge on U.S. 301 south of Smithfield after a major storm.
The investigation remains open, and officials suspect foul play, according to the Smithfield Police Department.
The N.C. Medical Examiner’s Office completed a preliminary autopsy on April 27, 2017, although it was unable to confirm the race or ethnicity of the victim.
He could be Caucasian, Asian or Hispanic, officials said.
The man was about 5 feet 3 inches tall and had a blue and red tattoo on his right shoulder.
The image of the tattoo is unclear because of the condition of the body. Police have said it could be a tribal sign.
In addition to the Medical Examiner’s Office, N.C. State University has helped officials try to identify the man.
The Benson Police Department and state medical examiners have confirmed that the body is not that of Cole Thomas of Florida, who went missing in Benson in November. Thomas has not been found.
The Smithfield Police Department is asking anyone with information to call Detective Ronald Johnson at 919-934-2121.
Anyone who provides substantial information in identifying the victim may be offered a cash reward.
A caller who wants to remain anonymous may call the tip line at 919-989-8835 or go to http://www.smithfield-nc.com/page/policeanonymoustip.