Identify Me: UIP Teenage John Doe Found 4th July 1996, Philadelphia, PA

Identify Me: UIP Teenage John Doe Found 4th July 1996, Philadelphia, PA

Please check out the update on this case once you’ve finished reading this article. You can find our update by clicking, here.

UIP Teenage John Doe found on 4th July 1996, Philadelphia, PA

On Independence Day (4th July 1996) the body of a teenage boy was found on railway tracks in District 16 of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He had died approximately four hours before his body was found and reported to the Philadelphia PD.

An autopsy was completed but no real details were released, including any confirmed cause of death. It’s been 23 years, this teenage boy has never been identified and his remains were cremated. It’s not known where his ashes are held, and someone somewhere is missing their son, their brother, their cousin, their nephew, their grandson, their student and their friend.

Can you identify him?


This post will include autopsy photos of a deceased teenager. If this is not something you can handle then please click on another article on the site. We do ask that you do look at this kid, it’s not a shocking autopsy photo (trust us, we have seen A LOT) and he deserves a look, at the very least.

Yes, we’re back to Philadelphia, AGAIN. This time it wasn’t a planned detour, we do have several other scheduled posts coming up in different areas, but felt we needed to focus on this teenage boy given the fact he’s been cremated by the Coroner without his family knowing which is just going to add to the devastation. This isn’t a new case, in fact, he was found on 4th July 1996.

Case Numbers

NamUs Profile Reference Number – #UP16617

ME/C Case Number 0 96 – 2900

Identifying Characteristics 

Identify Me: UIP Teenage John Doe Found 4th July 1996, Philadelphia, PA
Photo Credit: NamUs

Gender: Male

Race: Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino

Age Range: Adolescent between the ages of 12 – 17 

Height: 5’10 – 6’0 (70 – 72 inches) 

Weight: 130 – 145lbs ( 9 – 10st or 58 – 65.7kg)

Hair Colour: Black

Style: Tightly Curled (short)

Eye Colour: Brown

Date Found: 4th July 1996 

Estimated Time of Death: Four hours before the body was discovered based on post-mortem interval (PMI) 

Location Found: “B” and Gurney Streets, Philadelphia, PA

Recovery of Remains

All parts recovered, condition of remains from autopsy report stated that his face was still recognisable. 

Other identifying Physical Characteristics

Piercings: One left ear piercing
Scars: Two linear scars on the right forearm (arranged in or extending along a straight or nearly straight line.), and 1/4 linear scar on left thigh.
Tattoos: A heart tattoo on the right and left index finger, cursive initials on left abdomen “MX“, green tear on the left thigh. 
Admin – we are currently trying to hunt down photographs of the scars and the tattoos if we get these we’ll upload them in a future update post. UPDATE HERE
Identify Me: UIP Teenage John Doe Found 4th July 1996, Philadelphia, PA
Photo Credit: NamUs


Top: Green T-Shirt (as seen in photo), size S/M with writing on the front, “Calvin Klein Jeans”
Bottoms: Brand Quicksilver jeans (colour not specified) 
Underwear: Augusta size large maroon coloured boxer briefs.
Belt: Size 38 brown belt with a gold buckle (brand not specified)
Socks: Tivo brand socks, colour grey
Footwear: Nike brand black and white low top sneakers size 12

Also Found Near the Body

Under accessories, it simply states, “pipe”. This could be a weed pipe, a crack pipe (forgive us if that’s the same thing we aren’t clued in on drug paraphilia), or it could be completely unrelated as it was found near the body.

Questions We are Asking at Present


  • Was there a brand name on the belt found on the deceased?
  • Are there any possible pictures of the clothes found on the deceased? I understand where he was found means this might not be possible, but on the off-chance, there were photos it would be helpful.
  • Are there photographs of the three/four tattoos the deceased had?
  • Are there photographs of the 3 scars the deceased had? There was no indication on NamUs about the cause of death, but for some odd reason, they mention “pipe” as an item found near the body. Was it a drug-related death? Or, was there a particular reason that was included?
  • Information on NamUs states he was found on railroad tracks, but the map location they provided shows an empty lot (it could have been railroad tracks in 1996, or it could be off base). We noted two railroad tracks further away, one 5 minutes away which was an underground track) and one 7 minutes away. We are just wondering if either of those is where he was actually found, or if the coordinates we have are correct. We ask this because if it’s off base and he was found in either of those other places it means we can let people know that this was a potential spot he was last seen alive.
  • What colour jeans was he wearing, NamUs didn’t provide this information.
  • Why was he cremated without being identified? We understand the remains were found on railroad tracks which means there’s a likelihood they weren’t intact but is it normal procedure for someone to be cremated without identification?

It seems very crass, this is someone’s child…

FOIA Requests Being Made

  • FOIA request into decision-making processes in this particular case
  • FOIA request on standard processes of medical examinations in this period of time
  • Breakdown via gender, race and ethnicity during the same time-frame.
  • FOIA request into the normal practice of autopsy, burial and disclosure to the public for bodies found in a similar manner
  • FOIA request for the autopsy report to advise on toxicology results, DNA tests were taken and disclosure of pictures of tattoo’s, clothing and scars.
  • FOIA of local tattoo artists in District 16 in 1996 – present.

Comparisons We Have Sent to Date to NamUs


What to Do if you Recognise Him

Contact the following agencies:

  1. NamUs (use the profile link in the references section, it’ll provide you with an email address)
  2. Philadelphia Medical Examiners Office
  3. Philadelphia Police Department (16th District)
  4. Department of Justice


Utter Sadness

One of the first things we do is search for stories from the media around the time the body was found. Not a single freakin’ article about this boy, NOT ONE could be found. We try to keep ourselves impartial, but the more we look into this case, the more we get the feeling that no one seemingly cared about the body found on railway tracks on Independence Day 1996. We are weeping for him all these years later, we didn’t know this kid, we don’t care if that “pipe” found was his, if he was mixed up in drugs or gangs. We DO CARE he hasn’t been identified, that he was cremated without his family’s consent and that there is such a lack of information that we are posting this despite having very little information. We hope someone will see this and help.



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3 thoughts on “Identify Me: UIP Teenage John Doe Found 4th July 1996, Philadelphia, PA

  1. I have had so many questions about this boy and it makes me so happy to know that someone is trying to get answers. After seeing him for the 1st time on Namus I told myself not to look any farther into it because when I look at him he reminds me of my own son. Obviously I didn’t listen to myself and started drawing what he might look like when he was alive. I thought that maybe he hasn’t been identified due to the fact that the only pictures available are death pics. I pray you get some answers ?

  2. I’ve been interested in this case for awhile, my heart breaks for him. I think he may have been a runaway,I did find a missing person who may be similar. my heart goes out to him and I hope someone identifies him.

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