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December 14, 2012

Police to exhume murder victim's remains

Victim a mystery in 1969 murder

SALEM, N.H. — Police next week will exhume the body of a murder victim found on the side on Interstate 93 more than 43 years ago.

The man, who has never been identified, was discovered by a work crew in a water-filled ditch between Exits 1 and 2 on Aug. 7, 1969.

The victim had been shot execution style — twice in the back of the head, once in the back of the neck and once in the torso.

Police, the state medical examiners office, the Attorney Generals Office and representatives from Douglas and Johnson Funeral Home will exhume the victim’s remains from an unmarked grave in Pine Grove Cemetery. The man’s remains will be re-autopsied.

Technological forensic techniques not available at the time the man was found may make it possible to identify the victim today, Deputy police Chief Shawn Patten said.

There is no new evidence in the case that prompted the action, he said.

Police earlier this year solved their first cold case — the murder of John Pond Sr. in 1990. Using DNA and other evidence, police identified Mark Craig as the killer. They weren’t able to bring charges against Craig, who died of a drug overdose in 2004. But they could close the file and offer Pond’s family some closure.

Capt. James Chase and retired Sgt. Paul Marchand worked tirelessly to solve the Pond murder.

Now, Chase hopes to do the same in this case. But first, the victim must be identified.

In the Pond case, police had stacks of files, audio tapes, boxes of physical evidence.

For this unsolved murder, Chase said, he has a single binder he compiled. There are no crime scene photos, no police report.

There is more police don’t know than what they do.

The man, believed to be between 28 and 40 years old, was found face down in a water-filled ditch alongside I-93. He was about 5 feet 10 inches tall, with an estimated weight of 225 pounds.

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