Saskatchewan coroner Jerry Bell still desperately hopes he can solve Regina’s John Doe case even though it’s been a mystery for 25 years. He is hoping that one day he could bring closure to everyone involved. On Tuesday, while marking the 25th anniversary since John Doe’s death, Jerry stated that he was waiting to put a name to John Doe, and then he will retire. He also added that John was his only unidentified case and hoped he could connect John with his family.
After being hit by a train on July 28, 1995, the unidentified man died. CP Railway employees told police there was nothing they could do to stop the train. They indicated that a man appeared on the south side of the tracks and intentionally laid down in the direct path of the eastbound locomotive. The man has never been identified despite efforts by local authorities. While responding to the scene, John indicated that the Coroners Service checked the victim’s fingerprints against local, national, and American records, and no results were found.
Bell also indicated that the man’s body indicated no surgical scars, tattoos, or traits that could help identify him, and no missing people from the area matched the description of John Doe. Police collected wide-ranging photographs, x-rays, dental charts, and DNA samples with the hope of confirming the identity. He also said that people at the scene were psychologically affected because they visualized observing how the train was moving, and John walked up onto the tracks.
Elizabeth Popowich, the spokesperson for RPS, indicated that it was clear from the reports and the witness statements and the observations that he was quite deliberate in his actions. She said that the man lay down in front of an eastbound train to end his life, and that made her feel very sad. Even as his death is a mystery, police know there is a family somewhere that is wondering where is their son, brother, and friend. Popowich said she could not imagine a family out there, not knowing his whereabouts. For them, it’s really important to try to find out who he is and try to give his family some closure.
She also said that it was 25 years after the incident, and she still has a cold case investigator who is working on this file and still trying to develop some new avenue of investigation. She said as technology has changed, there could be some new piece of information that could solve the mystery of who this young man is. Bell said since she had been a coroner from 1984, it had been taking 24 to 48 hours to have an identification. A cold case investigator continues to follow new leads as RPS is still getting tips on the case. Bell also indicated that he was holding out on retirement because they want closure for family and people involved in the incident. He also added he would mean a lot to them to know that there was a connection back to the family. A generous community member created a headstone to remember John Doe in Regina’s Riverside Cemetery.
The 20 to 30 years old John Doe was a Caucasian man. He was clean-shaven, with blue eyes and medium brown hair. He was around 5’9″ and weighed between 140 and 160 lbs. John Doe wore a black denim buttoned shirt, and a white t-shirt underneath that read “Boca Authentic” across the front. He was also wearing white socks and a pair of 12.5 size blue and white Reebok runners and faded blue jeans.