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Sheriff releases sketch of deceased found on beach

SAN JUAN ISLAND, Wash. – Investigators and the regional medical examiner believe human remains found on a remote beach on Orcas Island in 2007 may be those of an American Indian or First Nations man, or possibly a Native man of mixed ancestry.

A hiker spotted the skeletal remains on the beach on the island’s Point Lawrence on March 21, 2007. A forensic anthropologist determined the deceased was a male, between 30 and 50 years of age, 5 feet 9 (plus or minus 3 inches). The time of death is estimated at between March 2006 and January 2007.

Two other clues: An argyle sock, and what the county coroner described as “a unique gold inlay in the upper molars.”

The San Juan County sheriff notified Interpol – the International Criminal Police Organization, based in Lyon, France – and law enforcement agencies in the region, but no leads have yet resulted.

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The sheriff’s department released a sketch of the deceased, based on a reconstruction, Sept. 28. Anyone with information about the deceased should call Detective Lach Buchanan, San Juan County Sheriff’s Department at (360) 378-4151.

The San Juan Islands are bordered by straits with fast-moving currents. Vancouver Island, British Columbia, is to the west, mainland British Columbia is to the north, mainland Washington state is to the east, and the Olympic Peninsula is to the south. The waters are heavily trafficked by commercial ships, pleasure boats and tour boats.

Richard Walker is a correspondent reporting from San Juan Island, Wash. Contact him at