Bow, WA– Nearly 30 years ago, a handful of mourners watched silently as a gray casket was lowered into the ground at Bow, Washington’s small cemetery. The big question for them all was, who did they just bury? The mystery remains to this day.
According to a GoFundMe account, on February 20th, 1989, Skagit County Sheriff’s Deputy Tony Breckenridge responded to reports of human skeletal remains found in a remote location on Chuckanut Mountain. A surveyor in the area reported find the skeletal remains while mapping the area. The man had no identification and had apparently died from suicide.
The Skagit County Coroner at the time, Frank Kendall could not determine the date of death, but thought the man could have been deceased for a year or longer.
The case details were loaded into a law enforcement database to see if they matched any missing person reports, but for nearly three decades, no leads have emerged on the man’s identity.
Former Deputy Breckenridge is quote on the GoFundMe page as saying “Just who did we bury in that grave? Doesn’t anyone remember a friend who suddenly disappeared in 1988? Or a family member who may have parted ways and left for good? Perhaps he was a college student who decided to drop out of life?” The man’s remains were nicknamed “Bow Doe” in reference to the missing “John Doe.”
The man’s remains were in such a remote spot, his last view was looking out over Chuckanut Bay.
The man is believed to be between 20 to 30 years old, stood 5′ 4″ tall to 5′ 8″ tall and had brown hair. A sample taken of his hair was destroyed in 2002. According to information on the National Missing and Unidentified Persons Database, he wore a grey-blue-red plaid long sleeve shirt, blue Levi zip jeans, a leather belt with a small silver buckle and socks with a red ring on them. He was wearing an unknown brand of tennis shoes, probably white with blue stripes. Under the remains was a grey-blue jacket. Near the remains was blue colored sunglasses and a small hair brush. The man was wearing a gold colored Benrus watch. The condition of the remains prevented finger prints from being taken at the time.
The case still continues to nag now former Deputy Breckenridge. The GoFundMe account has been set up to raise $2,000 for expenses related to exhuming the man’s remains and obtaining a DNA sample. Costs were reduced from nearly $4,000 from agencies already donating or reducing their costs for their services.
The exhumation will be handled by the Skagit County Coroner’s Office, Skagit County Sheriff’s Office and Kern Funeral home. The remains would be taken to the King County Medical Examiner’s Office for examination by a forensic anthropologist with the hopes of obtaining a DNA sample and to hopefully create a facial reconstruction according to the GoFundMe page.
The GoFundMe account was started by a small group of locals in the Bow area who hope to use the funds raise to identify the man and hopefully find family or friends so that they can know what happened to Bow Doe.
There are currently 31 missing or unidentified persons in Skagit County, Washington listed on the NAMUS