LA VERGNE, TN (WSMV) - The Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office is asking for the public's help solving a murder that is more than 40 years old.

The body of a man was found shot and partially burned at Poole Knob Campground near La Vergne on Aug. 1, 1978, according to Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office.

The man was never identified, but had the following features: 

  • Scars on his stomach, possibly from a surgery on his aorta using a Dacron graft, a material to replace or repair his blood vessels.
  • No natural teeth with upper dentures about five to 10 years old. The dentures were believed to be “bootlegged” with “Solila-Vac” teeth.
  • A quarter-sized mole 2 inches near his waistline.
  • long, brown hair with a receding hairline and a reddish brown and gray beard
  • in his late 30s
  • 5'10"

“There’s a mother, father, sister, brother or child who still seeks closure,” Rutherford County Sheriff’s Detective Richard Brinkley, who was assigned to the case in May, said in a statement on Friday. 

When a campground custodian found the man's body in 1978, the local sheriff's office and Tennessee Bureau of Investigation agents launched an investigation that revealed the man was "killed somewhere else and his body dragged to the site where he was burned." 

After a nationwide search did not identify the man, a sketch of the missing man was released during media interviews in 2014. The Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office also released a skull reconstruction.

DNA found at the scene was submitted to the FBI’s Combined DNA Index System to search for a match. However, police said no results have been found. 

The unidentified man was added to the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System. To view his profile, click here

"We haven’t given up,” Brinkley said. “Somebody knows who he is.”

On Friday, Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office re-released photos of the skull reconstruction and sketch. Anyone with any information on the case is asked to call 615-904-3045 or email is now with you on the go! Get the latest news updates and video, 4WARN weather forecast, weather radar, special investigative reports, sports headlines and much more from News4 Nashville.

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