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GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. – Marshall County Sheriff’s deputies are hoping somebody can help them solve a murder that happened over 20 years ago.

In April of 1997, a teenager alerted deputies to a grim discovery in Cotaco Creek north of Arab.

“The hands and head had been removed, obviously to keep us from identifying the victim,” Marshall County Sheriff’s office chief investigator Keith Wilson said.

Looking over the case file, Keith Wilson has a binder full of paperwork, and a half dozen scene photos printed from film that survived.

“The victim’s feet were bound by rope and then around the scene, they found other pieces of rope,” Wilson said.

With no head or hands, that made dental and fingerprint searches impossible. He’s not even sure the man is from Alabama. But Wilson says an examiner was able to narrow down more about who the man was.

“He was, say 20-30 years old, 5’9, 155 pounds and had strawberry blonde hair,” Wilson said.

With a handful of air fresheners found near the body, Wilson believes the killing happened in a different place and the body was dumped in the wooded area. A witness nearby described a man who the witness said appeared suspicious.

“Without identifying the body or the victim, it doesn’t give you much leverage when you’re talking to somebody,” Wilson said.

Wilson says the body has been examined several times, but it doesn’t seem to match any missing person cases from around that time. He says investigators have even interviewed a few possible suspects. He’s hoping somebody who knew the victim can give them a name, which he says could help finally solve this murder.

Wilson says the victim’s remains are now being stored by the state forensic lab.

If you have information that might be helpful to the case, you’re asked to contact Marshall County Sheriff’s deputies at (256) 582-2034.