Full-body sketch brings new hope of identifying man found dead 23 years ago

Sketch shows John Clinton Doe's clothing

A young man found dead in 1995 in Rock County still has no confirmed name or identity, but investigators have new hope in changing that.

Referred to as John Clinton Doe, or JCD, the man was found by a creek near Clinton, where he was believed to have already been dead a year. Investigators don’t suspect foul play.

He’s buried with a John Doe gravestone in the Johnson Center Cemetery east of Janesville, where Lois Keller decorates the grave.

“It makes me sad when you come up here, and nobody does visit the grave,” she said.

Keller is from Clinton and taught there for years.

“I taught students that could’ve ended up in this same predicament, and I wouldn’t want them to be unidentified,” she said. “When it’s a young man probably between 17 and 20, a young man not to be identified, I think it tugs at people’s hearts.”

For now, John Clinton Doe is a placeholder, as investigators search for what can be permanently etched to his grave.

Full-body sketch brings new hope of identifying man found dead 23 years ago

“I don’t like to call him that,” Keller said. “I think he has a name we have to find.”

Private investigator Jack Friess leads the Find JCD project, working on his own time to identify the young man.

“If it was my son that had been lost, gone missing, I think if he was laying somewhere in a grave, I think personally I would want to make sure he gets his name back,” he said.

Rock County officials released sketches of JCD’s face years ago, but now Friess is putting out a new picture of his full body.

“They’re unique clothes,” he said. “We thought it might be helpful when we’re reaching out to some folks.”

It took three years to get it right, finding the exact heavy metal band shirt which had deteriorated.

Although many cold cases go unsolved, Friess hopes the sketch, along with advancements in genetic testing, will move the investigation forward.

Keller works as a volunteer with Friess, hoping enough spotlight can be shined on the case to identify JCD.

“Somebody out there knows who he is, and it’s time he’s found,” Keller said. “He deserves to have his name — everyone deserves to have their name on a grave.”

Anyone with information can call the Find JCD Project at 715-498-1632 or the Rock County Sheriff’s Office at 608-757-7923.