Tampa Bay Cold Case Project | CASE 5

"Preacher Man"

CASE 5 Face
    Hillsborough County Cold Case Service Learning Initiative
    "5 Cases in 5 Weeks"

    CASE 5
    One day, a man went to barrow a bicycle tire pump from his friend “Mike”, who was also known as “Preacher man”. He had not seen his friend, who was also homeless, for the past five or six months. As he approached the area, he noticed the body of his friend lying on the ground before calling 911 from a nearby gas station.
    On Monday, November 8, 2010, at 11:44 am, deputies from the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) discovered the remains of a man in a small, overgrown, and wooded area in Tampa. The decedent was found near the Mobile gas station on the corner of 5233 Hillsborough Ave. East and Orient Rd, which is just west of the 56th Street intersection. The HCSO has been working with the Hillsborough County Medical Examiner’s Office and the Forensic Anthropology Lab at the University of South Florida (USF) to help identify this individual and learn about what caused his death. So far, his identity remains a mystery. Help from the public is needed.
    This unidentified individual is a white man and was probably over the age of fifty years. The man is estimated to stand at approximately five feet, seven inches tall. His head hair is gray and he has a gray beard. The man had lost many of his teeth through the course of his life and was toothless except for the lower front teeth (four incisors and one canine) in his lower jaw. He has healed fractures to his face, which caused the bridge of his nose to appear slightly crooked. The man also had an active infection in the left portion of his face and may have complained of pain or sinus problems.
    At the time when the man was found, he was wearing a blue shirt; blue, wide-leg, work-style jeans; a brown belt with simple gold clasp; and a pair of red Hanes briefs with a gray-white elastic waistband that had “Hanes” printed on them. The man also wore a plastic, black, athletic-style, digital watch that has silver-colored detail around the watch face. He wore this watch on his left arm, and may therefore have been right-handed.
    A possible identity of this man is an individual known as “Preacher Man” and “Mike” by individuals who possibly recognize him. The unidentified man was possibly homeless and no one thus far can tell authorities his full name. The man died from natural causes and was believed to have lived in the wooded area where he was found.
    A facial reconstruction that may resemble this individual and a reconstruction of the individual’s clothing were created by the Forensic Anthropology Laboratory at the University of South Florida.
    If you have any information regarding the identity of this individual based on the above description and/or the facial and clothing reconstructions, please contact the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. Please contact Detective Jason Himmell at 813-247-0595, or call the Criminal Investigations Division at 813-247-8600.

    If you are looking for a missing person, contact The National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) at www.NamUs.gov. NamUs is an online source that enables the public to search for as well as enter information about missing individuals. Many families have found their missing loved one by searching the site for unidentified individuals.

    Other Unidentified Cold Cases in Hillsborough County, Florida: http://www.hillsboroughcounty.org/medexam/about/unidentified.cfm