This unidentified white male was found floating in the Des Moines River Oct. 25, 2005. He has yet to be identified.
Unidentified White Male
Des Moines, Iowa
Approx. 40-45 YOA
Height: 5’8″ to 5’10″
Weight: 195 to 210 lbs.
Hair Color: Brown, with goatee
Eye Color: Unknown Des Moines, Iowa Polk County
Case #: 05-43363
Possible Date of Death: Oct. 18, 2005
Date Found: October 25, 2005
He was somebody’s son. Perhaps someone’s father or brother. Nobody knows.
Officials retrieve the victim’s body from the Des Moines River. (Courtesy photo WHO-TV)
What police do know is that on October 25, 2005, the body of a white male was found floating in the Des Moines River near the west bank in the vicinity of the 800 block of W. Riverside Drive in Des Moines.
The victim, believed to be somewhere between 40 and 45 years old, had brown hair with a goatee, was shirtless, wore size 36 tan shorts beneath size 38 blue trousers and also wore a yellow and white Relic brand watch.
“The body was actually located floating down the river — about the Center Street Dam area. It was north of the dam by the stairwells on the west side of the Des Moines River,” Des Moines Police Sergeant Jeff Edwards told Channel 13′s Aaron Brilbeck for a story WHO-TV aired December 9, 2010, as part of the station’s ongoing Iowa Cold Case series.
Des Moines Police Sgt. Jeff Edwards (Courtesy photo WHO-TV)
The man had less than $10 in cash and coins in his pockets, but no identification. Nor did he match descriptions of anyone police had listed as missing.
Autopsy reports determined the victim drowned, and police said it didn’t appear he had been beaten.
“There were no obvious signs of trauma to the person. No obvious signs of where he might have been assaulted or anything like that, so it’s still a mystery to us,” Edwards said.
The man’s body did, however, indicate he’d undergone shoulder surgery at some point; a surgical pin was found implanted in the victim’s left shoulder.
* Viewer Discretion Advised: A photo of the victim may be viewed by clicking the link below, but please note the image is somewhat graphic and may disturb small children. Click here to view the photo.
Little decomposition had taken place, leading police to believe the body had been in the water for just a few days.
“Water temperatures were a little cold,” said Edwards. “I’m not sure what it was like on that day, but I would say it hadn’t been in there very long.”
The body was found in an area near several homeless camps, and though the man who found the victim listed his own address as a local homeless shelter, police are unsure as to whether the victim was homeless or possibly a transient.
The victim’s body was found floating in the Des Moines River near this homeless camp in the vicinity of the 800 block of W. Riverside Drive in Des Moines. (Courtesy photo WHO-TV)
Still, Edwards said, it would be nice to give the man’s family some closure and let them know what happened to their loved one.
“If this was an accidental drowning of a person that maybe didn’t have a lot of family around here or didn’t have family local, it would be nice for that family to at least be aware that this is what happened to that person,” Edwards told Brilbeck.
If you know who the victim is, please contact Des Moines police at 515-283-4805.
WHO-TV’s Aaron Brilbeck reports on the unidentified body found in 2005 in the Des Moines River. Air date: Dec. 9, 2010
COLD CASE: Unidentified body found in 2005 in Des Moines River leaves police baffled,” WHO-TV Channel 13 Des Moines, Dec. 9, 2010