Investigators are hoping that a clay reconstruction of the head of a man whose skeleton was found in an undeveloped park in El Cerrito in 1998 will help somebody identify him. “Our main goal today is to try to figure out who he is and how he got to El Cerrito,” El Cerrito police Sgt. Paul Keith said at a news conference in Martinez today. A hiker on vacation from Wisconsin discovered the man’s skeletal remains on Aug. 22, 1998, in some dense bushes off a deer trail in the Hillside Natural Area, Keith said. The coroner’s office estimated that the remains had been there for three to five years before they were discovered, Keith said. The man is believed to have been an Asian male between 45 and 60 years old, Marie Rankin, the forensic artist who made the reconstruction, said. The man had an empty duffle bag with him and the most recent coins in his pocket were dated 1984, Keith said. While most of the skeleton was intact and still contained in the man’s clothing, there was no evidence to suggest who he was or how he died. After the skeleton was discovered, El Cerrito police, with help from a volunteer search and rescue team and members of the Mount Diablo Metal Detector Club, spent three days searching the hillside for evidence, but found nothing, Keith said. Since that time, investigators have entered the man’s DNA into the national DNA database and compared their information with missing person reports, but still haven’t come up with any clues about the man’s identity. “It’s one of those cases that gets revisited every year,” Keith said. “This is somebody’s relative,” Keith said. “You hate to have an unresolved death of somebody’s relative.” Please call the Fugitive Watch hot line at 1-800-9-CAUGHT (1-800-922-8448) or text us at 408-355-0999 if you know the name of this man or have any information that can help solve this crime.
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