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N.H. authorities hope to identify decades-old homicide victim; body was found off I-93 in 1969

A facial reconstruction by forensic artist Harvey Pratt seeks to bring to life a man found dead more than 40 years ago in Salem, N.H.
A facial reconstruction by forensic artist Harvey Pratt seeks to bring to life a man found dead more than 40 years ago in Salem, N.H.Credit: N.H. Attorney General

The man’s partially decomposed body was found more than 40 years ago in Salem, N.H. His identity was a mystery, but one thing became clear: He had been shot four times.

Now authorities are hoping that a forensic artist’s reconstruction of the man’s face will spur someone to identify the man — and help crack a long-unsolved case.

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The body was found in a small pit of water off Interstate 93 in Salem on Aug. 7, 1969. Investigation revealed that the victim was a white male, between 28 and 40 years old, who had been shot. He was 5 feet 10 inches tall and weighed about 225 pounds, New Hampshire Attorney General Joseph A. Foster’s office said.

Salem police reopened the case in December 2012. The body was exhumed and a post-mortem examination was conducted by the New Hampshire deputy chief medical examiner and a forensic anthropologist, Foster’s office said in a statement. Bones were also sent to the FBI.

The victim’s skull was sent to forensic artist Harvey Pratt of the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation. Pratt is considered one of the top forensic artists in the country, Foster’s office said.

Pratt was able to reconstruct the victim’s face using the tissue depth from various parts of the skull as a starting point. The tissue depth is determined through factors such as age, sex, race, and body density. Those factors were determined by the forensic anthropologist, Foster’s office said.

Anyone with information is asked to call Salem New Hampshire Police Detective Michael White at 603-890-2383.

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