SANTA ANA (CBSLA) — Investigators hope new technology will help identify a young man whose remains were found in Trabuco Canyon more than two decades ago.
Five days before Kelly Keyes joined the corner’s office, the remains of an unidentified man were discovered in the foothills of the Santa Ana Mountains. Twenty-three years later, now as supervising deputy coroner, she’s looking at 100 cold cases. But today, her first cold case still haunts her.
Keyes says every few years John Doe’s file has crossed her desk; but all she’s had to go on is unmatched DNA in the sketch — until today. With help from the National Center of Missing and Exploited Children, Keyes has two new images created using the latest in reconstruction technology to help finally put a name to a face.
Now, for the first time, she has hope she may be close to solving the case.
“We don’t know whole lot. Our primary thing is we know his age, being 14 to 25 years old. Caucasian. Possibly Hispanic,” she said.
“This is someone’s child … And of we can find out who he is and give him his name back and give somebody their son back I think that’s pretty big for that one family,” she continued.
Keyes said as hard as she tries to leave her work at work, matching unidentified cases with their families is at times more passion than science. She hopes this case, like so many before, will bring a family she hopes to meet some day long-awaited answers.
“We just have a heart to help people. It’s a division of the sheriff’s department of just pure love. And we are taking good care of them until we can find a family to take care of them,” she said.
Keyes added she has good reason to hope: the last time they got sketches this good at the corner’s office, she says it took just two months for the case to be solved.