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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Medical Examiner's Office, Shortly After Telling Press to 'Call Back Later Today' For Dead Man's ID, Issues Plea to General Public for Assistance

Posted By on Thu, Mar 19, 2009 at 11:40 AM

On Monday, SF Weekly called the city Medical Examiner's office asking for the ID of the unfortunate gent pulled from Lake Merced (with the Boy Scout-like assistance of a troop of Dragon Boaters) over the weekend. We were told to call back later in the day. We did.

We were then told to call back the next day. We did. Same result. So we called back again ... no dice. While delays in releasing names are not uncommon, we were surprised to find out the ME's office never knew who the Lake Merced man was, and is now appealing to the general public to pitch in (combined with the Dragon Boat folks, the public is being asked to contribute more than its ordinary share with this case).

SF Weekly wasn't the only media outlet feeling misled; the Examiner on Monday published a story with the headline "Body found in Lake Merced expected to be identified later today." You'd think the ME's office learned its communications skills from the Mayor's office of Communications. It's a shame the following sentence was apparently never communicated to the media: "We don't know the ID yet. We're working on it."

Charles Cecil, an investigator at the ME's office, couldn't seem to see the incongruity in telling reporters to call back later that day for a dead man's identity and then stating a couple of days later that you don't know the man's identity and never did. He confirmed that the ME's office has "no suspicions" as to who the dead man may be.

That, it seems, is where you come in.

The man in the lake -- John Doe No. 25, officially -- is a white man around 50 years old standing 5-foot-7 and weighing 167 pounds. His hair was dark brown and his eye color is uncertain. He has no tattoos, sported no jewelry, and wore a green sweatshirt over a red t-shirt. The ME's office is reporting he wore green boxer shorts and had one green dress sock when his body was discovered (though it's unlikely he wore this outfit out of the house).

Finally, he had a surgical scar on his left shoulder; an x-ray determined he had a surgical screw and wire in that shoulder. Those with any notions as to who this may be should call the ME's office at (415) 553-1694. And, while you're at it, visit here to see if you can ID any of these other city John and Jane Does.

Knowledgeable people should call the ME's office today -- not later today or tomorrow.     

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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