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December 3, 2013

Investigators hope to ID 1969 murder victim

Victim was shot four times in 1969

SALEM — For 44 years, the murdered man’s identity has been a mystery.

Investigators knew little about him, other than he was probably between 28 and 40 years when his bullet-riddled body was dumped between Exits 1 and 2 along Interstate 93 in 1969. He had been shot four times — execution style.

Yesterday, nearly a year after the cold case probe was reopened and the victim’s body exhumed, investigators released facial reconstruction photographs they hope will finally help identify the man.

The New Hampshire attorney general’s office and Salem Police Department announced they are seeking the public’s help solving the murder. They released photos of a forensic artist’s reconstruction of the man’s head.

Harvey Pratt, considered one of the top forensic artists in the country, analyzed the skull and completed a model of the dead man. He had been shot twice in the head, once in the torso and once to the back of the neck.

The model shows a middle-aged man with a protracted jaw and large nose, among other distinct facial features.

Senior Assistant Attorney General Jeffery Strelzin said investigators have received some calls from the public in the past, but “nothing helpful.”

Strelzin said he is optimistic that will change.

“Our hope is because this person has a fairly distinctive look,” he will be identified, Strelzin said. “It is hard to identify someone without seeing the face. ... We are hoping someone can recognize this person and help identify him.”

Salem police Capt. James Chase is hopeful as well. He said the reconstruction should make it much easier to identify the man.

“At least we have a potential face to the victim,” Chase said. “The victim had distinct facial features that could stand out. He had a significant jaw, a nose that had been broken in the past. There are things we definitely learned from the reconstruction. We definitely now know he’s a white male. ... I think the facial features are definitely a huge bonus. He doesn’t look like everybody else.”

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