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Thursday, August 18, 2022

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Nearly 14 years later, “Hanging Man” identity remains a mystery

PARK FOREST – This October will mark the 14th anniversary of the day a man was found hanging deep inside the Thorn Creek Nature Preserve in Park Forest.

His identity is still unknown to this day.

When he was finally found in a wooded area hundreds of yards away from the roadway at 23450 Western Avenue, three months after his death inside the 1,600 preservation system, investigators had little to go on.

What they discover lead to clues to his identity.  The man was between 50 and 60 years old at the time of his death.  He was a little over six feet tall.  An aged mix of brown and gray hair once decorated his frontal balding scalp. He wore a striped shirt, khakis, and brown shoes.  A Green Day pack was nearby, along with a plastic bag marked “Joe and Frank’s Famous Homemade Sausage”, Zippo lighter with the word “Poland” on it, along with a Polish flag.  Nicotine was later found in his system.

Internally, investigators discovered extensive dental care and multiple healed fractures of bones throughout his body. 

Remains we’re sent to University of North Texas Center for Human Identification and eventually, be entered into NamUs as #UP5263

But investigators are after a name.   

Not a number.

Last year, the Will County Coroner’s Office partnered with Othram to see if forensic DNA testing could establish an identity for the man or a close relative. 

Will County Coroner’s office has contributed some of the funding to support this case and a DNASolves crowdfund has been created to raise funds for the remaining casework costs. 

Anyone can contribute here or if you have information that could help lead to the identity of the “Hanging Man”, contact the Will County Coroner’s Office at 815-727-8455 and reference case number 08-0354 or NamUs ID #UP5263.

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