Chief Medical Examiner, AG, Seek Assistance In Identifying John Doe #21

November 23, 2005

Chief Medical Examiner Margaret Greenwald, M.D., and Attorney General Steven Rowe today asked the public for assistance in identifying John Doe #21, a dead man recovered by the Coast Guard in the ocean 27 miles off Jonesport on July 24, 2000. A forensic artist and computer enhancement specialist from South Carolina volunteered his efforts to generate a sketch and photo of what the man looked like in life. Greenwald and Rowe released the sketch and photo for the first time in Maine today in the hope that someone will recognize him. Previous efforts by the medical examiner to identify him through fingerprints, DNA, dental records, and personal items have all failed.

A flurry of publicity around the body's discovery in 2000 generated a few phone calls, but John Doe #21 was not identified, and his case was forgotten…except by Dr. Greenwald and the medical examiner's staff. "We all have been frustrated that we can't find out who this man is. Once in awhile we get a lead, but nothing ever pans out," Greenwald said.

In September of this year, Greenwald sent her office administrator, Jim Ferland, to present the case of John Doe #21 to a conference on Missing Persons and Unidentified Human Remains sponsored by the National Institute of Justice. At this conference, Ferland learned about an organization called the Doe Network.

The Doe Network is an international volunteer organization devoted to assisting Law Enforcement in solving cold cases concerning unexplained disappearances and unidentified victims from North America, Australia and Europe. Their mission is to give the nameless back their names and return the missing to their families. The Doe Network also sponsors Project EDAN (Everyone Deserves A Name), which is a group of volunteer forensic artists who donate their time and skills to create reconstructions and age-progressions of the missing and unidentified. The sketch and photo of John Doe #21 were created by Lt. Wesley Neville, of the Florence County (South Carolina) Sheriff's Department. They are currently on display at

Attorney General Rowe said, "During this holiday season, I am hopeful that we will give this man a name and a family. I am so thankful for the humanity and hard work of Dr. Greenwald and her staff, as well as the assistance of the Doe Network and Lt. Neville."

Due to the state of the remains, the cause and manner of death could not be determined. The body was cremated, and the remains were buried in an Auburn Cemetery at State expense in May, 2001. Greenwald and Rowe encourage anyone with information that may be helpful in identifying John Doe #21 to contact Jim Ferland at the Office of Chief Medical Examiner, by calling 624-7180, or e-mailing him at