Homeless dead unidentified at Atlanta morgue FWD

Tom Boland (wgcp@earthlink.net)
Sat, 21 Nov 1998 22:33:50 -0400


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http://www.accessatlanta.com/ajc/newsatlanta/
http://www.accessatlanta.com/news/1998/11/18/unidentified.html
FWD  Atlanta Journal-Constitution - November 18, 1998

Fourteen unidentified dead people have been taken to Fulton's
morgue in the last four years. Only one other metro Atlanta
county has had any unidentified dead in the same period -
Cobb, which had only one. Fulton has so many more because
the county and Atlanta have more homeless people.


AT MORGUE, THE VICTIM'S NAME
IS SOMETIMES THE BIGGEST MYSTERY

By Joshua B. Good, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution


After he died, there wasn't much the man on the
cold metal gurney could hide from Al Boudy.

Boudy knew how much the man weighed--210 pounds.
He knew the man wore dentures. He knew about the
man's cocaine problem.

But Boudy, an investigator with the Fulton County
Medical Examiner's Office, didn't know the man's
name. And he still doesn't, even though the man
died Aug. 19, 1996.

Boudy refers to the man by his case number:
96-1456. The unidentified man is one of 14
nameless dead who have come to the Fulton County
morgue during the past four years.

During that same period in metro Atlanta, only
Fulton and Cobb counties have had any unidentified
dead. And Cobb has had only one, a 25- to
35-year-old man who was stabbed to death at a
Smyrna construction site in March.

The reasons Fulton County has so many more are
simple.

Atlanta and Fulton County have more homeless
people. There are more people dying on the streets
because of drugs. And for years, investigators
with the Fulton County Medical Examiner's Office
and the Atlanta police failed to check with state
and federal databases that could have helped
identify the dead, according to GBI spokesman John
Bankhead.

Investigators are now checking those databases.
And they are reopening old cases and tracking down
old leads. They are doing all this now because of
a 20-year-old Florida man who committed suicide in
Atlanta.

A homeless man found the body in an abandoned Vine
City building on Jan. 26, 1995. For 28 months, the
man remained a number, although his fingerprints
were on file with the FBI and he had two phone
numbers in his pocket: his family's pastor's
number and his grandmother's.

"It fell through the cracks," Boudy said.

It wasn't Boudy's case to begin with. Boudy joined
the medical examiner's office in July of 1996,
after 26 years in the Army where he also
investigated deaths.

Months into his new job, Boudy's boss gave him the
case file with the Vine City suicide and told him
to see what he could do.

He called the pastor in Orlando, Fla. Forty-five
minutes later, Samuel Michael Williams'
grandmother called Boudy. It was her grandson who
had killed himself.

The family wasn't happy Williams had been buried
in an unmarked grave at Forest Lawn Cemetery in
College Park. They weren't happy it took so long
to find out he was dead.

And Boudy's boss, Dennis McGowan, chief
investigator at the medical examiner's office,
wasn't happy, either.

He passed out the remaining 14 cases of the
unidentified dead to his investigators. He pushed
his team and police investigators to get
information about the dead men to the FBI and the
GBI.

Boudy re-opened case 96-1456. The man was 45 to 55
years old. He passed out at James P. Brawley Drive
and Pelham Street on Aug. 17, 1996, because of a
cocaine overdose. He died two days later at Grady
Memorial Hospital.

>From reviewing the file, Boudy remembered sending
the man's fingerprints to Atlanta police and the
state. But he didn't get a match.

There were two things investigators didn't do for
Boudy's dead man. No one had sent the fingerprints
to the FBI.

"The police have to do that, that's the way it's
set up," McGowan said. And no one had given the
GBI complete information about case 96-1456,
either.

Last month, Boudy compiled a packet, including the
man's fingerprints, diagrams of the man's dental
work and X-rays of his body. Boudy sent the packet
to Atlanta police and they forwarded it to the
FBI.

Boudy also recently sent information about the
dead man to the GBI. The GBI has two databases
where they store information about unidentified
dead. One is for law enforcement agencies. The
other is for the public and is available on the
Web at www.ganet.org/gbi.

But there was plenty Boudy originally did in an
attempt to identify the man. He went to police
departments, an American Legion hall and area
shelters with a picture of the dead man.

The snapshot showed the dead man's hair was gone
from the top of his head, but was graying on the
sides. He had a long, slender scar that stretched
from above his right eyebrow and over his nose.
People told Boudy they knew the man as Ronald. One
man thought Ronald had worked for a temporary
agency.

At Temcor, a manager looked at the photograph and
said it looked like Ronald King, a 47-year-old
former employee.

The man's work records indicated he had a wife in
Birmingham. Boudy called her. She hadn't seen her
husband in 15 years.

Mary Ann Gibbs King, 46, drove to Atlanta on Aug.
28, 1996, to look at the photograph. "That's him,"
she told Boudy, identifying the dead man as her
missing husband.

But then she went to shelters, trying to find the
story about what happened to the man who had left
her life.

She got to ask Ronald King himself. He was still
alive.

"They could have been brothers," Boudy said of
Ronald King and the still unidentified dead man.
It could take months for the FBI to process the
fingerprints of Boudy's dead man. If he were
arrested or served in the military, Boudy will
learn the man's name. Then, he hopes, he can find
the man's family.

Boudy stands in the autopsy room at the morgue
where about 1,000 dead bodies have come through
this year. Each of those dead gave up intimate
details about their lives when doctors performed
autopsies on them and judged how they died.

Boudy opens a door to the walk-in refrigerator
where one unidentified woman's remains are in a
bag. A man found her skeleton along I-285 on June
16.

"They have families who still care about them," he
said, thinking of the 14 unidentified bodies.
Thirteen of them are at Forest Lawn Cemetery in
unmarked graves. "They deserve a decent burial."
Anyone with information about the unidentified
dead can call the Fulton County Medical Examiner's
Office at 404-730-4400.

END FORWARD
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** NOTICE: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is
distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in
receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. **

HOMELESS PEOPLE'S NETWORK  <http://aspin.asu.edu/hpn/>  Home Page
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http://www.accessatlanta.com/ajc/newsatlanta/

http://www.accessatlanta.com/news/1998/11/18/unidentified.html

FWD  Atlanta Journal-Constitution - November 18, 1998


Fourteen unidentified dead people have been taken to Fulton's

morgue in the last four years. Only one other metro Atlanta

county has had any unidentified dead in the same period -

Cobb, which had only one. Fulton has so many more because

the county and Atlanta have more homeless people.



<paraindent><param>right,left</param>AT MORGUE, THE VICTIM'S NAME

IS SOMETIMES THE BIGGEST MYSTERY


By Joshua B. Good, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

</paraindent>


After he died, there wasn't much the man on the

cold metal gurney could hide from Al Boudy.


Boudy knew how much the man weighed--210 pounds.

He knew the man wore dentures. He knew about the

man's cocaine problem.


But Boudy, an investigator with the Fulton County

Medical Examiner's Office, didn't know the man's

name. And he still doesn't, even though the man

died Aug. 19, 1996.


Boudy refers to the man by his case number:

96-1456. The unidentified man is one of 14

nameless dead who have come to the Fulton County

morgue during the past four years.


During that same period in metro Atlanta, only

Fulton and Cobb counties have had any unidentified

dead. And Cobb has had only one, a 25- to

35-year-old man who was stabbed to death at a

Smyrna construction site in March.


The reasons Fulton County has so many more are

simple.


Atlanta and Fulton County have more homeless

people. There are more people dying on the streets

because of drugs. And for years, investigators

with the Fulton County Medical Examiner's Office

and the Atlanta police failed to check with state

and federal databases that could have helped

identify the dead, according to GBI spokesman John

Bankhead.


Investigators are now checking those databases.

And they are reopening old cases and tracking down

old leads. They are doing all this now because of

a 20-year-old Florida man who committed suicide in

Atlanta.


A homeless man found the body in an abandoned Vine

City building on Jan. 26, 1995. For 28 months, the

man remained a number, although his fingerprints

were on file with the FBI and he had two phone

numbers in his pocket: his family's pastor's

number and his grandmother's.


"It fell through the cracks," Boudy said.


It wasn't Boudy's case to begin with. Boudy joined

the medical examiner's office in July of 1996,

after 26 years in the Army where he also

investigated deaths.


Months into his new job, Boudy's boss gave him the

case file with the Vine City suicide and told him

to see what he could do.


He called the pastor in Orlando, Fla. Forty-five

minutes later, Samuel Michael Williams'

grandmother called Boudy. It was her grandson who

had killed himself.


The family wasn't happy Williams had been buried

in an unmarked grave at Forest Lawn Cemetery in

College Park. They weren't happy it took so long

to find out he was dead.


And Boudy's boss, Dennis McGowan, chief

investigator at the medical examiner's office,

wasn't happy, either.


He passed out the remaining 14 cases of the

unidentified dead to his investigators. He pushed

his team and police investigators to get

information about the dead men to the FBI and the

GBI.


Boudy re-opened case 96-1456. The man was 45 to 55

years old. He passed out at James P. Brawley Drive

and Pelham Street on Aug. 17, 1996, because of a

cocaine overdose. He died two days later at Grady

Memorial Hospital.


>From reviewing the file, Boudy remembered sending

the man's fingerprints to Atlanta police and the

state. But he didn't get a match.


There were two things investigators didn't do for

Boudy's dead man. No one had sent the fingerprints

to the FBI.


"The police have to do that, that's the way it's

set up," McGowan said. And no one had given the

GBI complete information about case 96-1456,

either.


Last month, Boudy compiled a packet, including the

man's fingerprints, diagrams of the man's dental

work and X-rays of his body. Boudy sent the packet

to Atlanta police and they forwarded it to the

FBI.


Boudy also recently sent information about the

dead man to the GBI. The GBI has two databases

where they store information about unidentified

dead. One is for law enforcement agencies. The

other is for the public and is available on the

Web at www.ganet.org/gbi.


But there was plenty Boudy originally did in an

attempt to identify the man. He went to police

departments, an American Legion hall and area

shelters with a picture of the dead man.


The snapshot showed the dead man's hair was gone

from the top of his head, but was graying on the

sides. He had a long, slender scar that stretched

from above his right eyebrow and over his nose.

People told Boudy they knew the man as Ronald. One

man thought Ronald had worked for a temporary

agency.


At Temcor, a manager looked at the photograph and

said it looked like Ronald King, a 47-year-old

former employee.


The man's work records indicated he had a wife in

Birmingham. Boudy called her. She hadn't seen her

husband in 15 years.


Mary Ann Gibbs King, 46, drove to Atlanta on Aug.

28, 1996, to look at the photograph. "That's him,"

she told Boudy, identifying the dead man as her

missing husband.


But then she went to shelters, trying to find the

story about what happened to the man who had left

her life.


She got to ask Ronald King himself. He was still

alive.


"They could have been brothers," Boudy said of

Ronald King and the still unidentified dead man.

It could take months for the FBI to process the

fingerprints of Boudy's dead man. If he were

arrested or served in the military, Boudy will

learn the man's name. Then, he hopes, he can find

the man's family.


Boudy stands in the autopsy room at the morgue

where about 1,000 dead bodies have come through

this year. Each of those dead gave up intimate

details about their lives when doctors performed

autopsies on them and judged how they died.


Boudy opens a door to the walk-in refrigerator

where one unidentified woman's remains are in a

bag. A man found her skeleton along I-285 on June

16.


"They have families who still care about them," he

said, thinking of the 14 unidentified bodies.

Thirteen of them are at Forest Lawn Cemetery in

unmarked graves. "They deserve a decent burial."

Anyone with information about the unidentified

dead can call the Fulton County Medical Examiner's

Office at 404-730-4400.


END FORWARD

-

** NOTICE: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. **


HOMELESS PEOPLE'S NETWORK  <<http://aspin.asu.edu/hpn/>  Home Page

ARCHIVES  <<http://aspin.asu.edu/hpn/archives.html>  read posts to HPN

TO JOIN  <<http://aspin.asu.edu/hpn/join.html> or email Tom <<wgcp@earthlink.net>

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