Investigators hope a new form of FBI technology can shed light on a decades-old Scottsboro cold case

Northeast Alabama
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SCOTTSBORO, Ala. -- Scottsboro Police investigators are hoping a new form of technology can shed some light on a decades-old cold case.

A quiet Scottsboro cemetery holds a mystery that circles around a man known only as 'John Doe' in Scottsboro. "He was killed in a pedestrian accident, a fatal pedestrian accident, back in 1981," explained Scottsboro Police Lt. Erik Dohring.

He didn't have identification when he was hit and killed on Highway 72. The man was buried and left unnamed while Scottsboro Police investigators worked to find out who he was. "His fingerprints were sent off at that time to the FBI," Dohring said.

But nothing. The FBI still has the prints, and Scottsboro Police investigators are hoping analysts can use them again with a new piece of technology. "They have a new algorithm to where they can match fingerprints with a lot less material, I guess you can say."

Investigators went through the process of hopefully getting the fingerprints reanalyzed. "Now we're hoping with this new technology that they're able to look at these fingerprints and hopefully make some kind of identification, so we can figure out who John Doe 81 is."

Investigators have been working for years to try to figure that out. They say it's more than a case. It's a family who is wondering where their loved one is. "They have no idea where he is or what's happened, and this would be able to give them some closure if we were able to identify who he is."

At this point, closure is what investigators are looking for. There's no word yet on when they might hear back from the FBI about the prints.

A couple of years ago the FBI exhumed the body hoping he was a man on their Top Ten Most Wanted list. The DNA did not match, and didn't match in any databases.

To view the picture of John Doe, scroll through the gallery below.  Please note that the image is not particularly inappropriate or gory, but be forewarned it is a postmortem photo.

You can reach the Scottsboro Police Department at 256-574-3333 or (256) 574-4468. Police say all tips on this case are welcome.

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