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Mystery of badly decomposed body found in sealed drum after it was dumped on family's property 20 years ago

THE body of a man found in a 55-gallon steel drum dumped on a family property is at the heart of a cold case mystery.

Investigators are hoping to identify the victim, whose body was found twenty years ago a few yards from the driveway of New Jersey house.


A statement from prosecutors said the man “may have been from central or northern New Jersey or one of the five boroughs of New York City” but apart from that little more is known about him.

Homeowner Stanislaw Kocur found the drum in April 2002 and when he took an earth mover to move it out, he discovered it was attracting flies.

He called the cops every day in a bid to get the drum removed and eventually local public works employees removed it ten days later, northjersey.com reports.

Worried about possible hazardous materials they called the county health department who put a probe inside the drum and hit something solid.

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Cops then cut the drum open and made the grim discovery of the body.

But despite an autopsy and a detailed dental examination as well as finger prints, investigators were unable to identify the man at the time.

The man had no wallet or ID on him and his body had begun to decompose, making it very difficult to identifying him.

The best that the prosecutor's office could do was to describe him as multiracial, either Black and Hispanic or Black and white, and somewhere between 18 and 34 years old.

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He stood 6 feet tall, weighed somewhere between 140 and 150 pounds and had a "thin build," according to a recent description.

The victim's "hips were very narrow and his fingers were long but the color of his eyes was not discernible due to decomposition," according to the prosecutor's office.

He had short, dark-brown or black hair and distinctive gaps between his upper teeth and crowding of his lower teeth. 

At the time of his death the victim was wearing Carhart utility jeans, black size 9 Timberland boots and a belt with a three-pronged buckle.

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He also has on a distinctive red, white, blue and yellow Chaps Ralph Lauren shirt.

It was hoped the shirt would provide some clue to the man's identity, since it had only been available for sale for a few months in 1998, but that proved fruitless.

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