For 37 years, there was a body without a name in Ross County.
It had been found in the Scioto River with his ankles tied by rope.
At first the body was put in a cemetery, but recently exhumed and forensic science helped crack the case of Authur Raymond Flowers.
Forensic scientists only had his skull to work with when they rebuilt his face in clay.
“It was basically starting from a scratch with a case that was 30 years old,” said Michael Ratliff, Chief Investigator Ross County Coroner.
The question became - would anyone recognize him?
Amy Ward thought it looked familiar. Her uncle was missing in the 1970’s and she thought the sculpture might be him.
Ward sent a picture of her uncle to authorities after she read the story on 10TV.com. In the letter she wrote, “I hope we will find out soon if it’s him or not.”
John Doe had no children, but he had a brother and sister.
Four months later, Ratliff hit pay dirt when a DNA swab from John Doe’s brother came back and with dental records, ‘Scioto John’ could now be identified as Flowers.
According to the coroner, Flowers was an in-patient at the Chillicothe VA Hospital when he disappeared on June 19, 1975. A day later the VA sent a letter to the family to alert them he was no longer at the facility.
“Your son left the hospital without permission, please advise if you learn his whereabouts,” read the letter.
A day after that, a body was found by a fisherman in the river north of Chillicothe.
But it took officials almost 40 years to make the ID.
"To be able to bring him back to the family makes all the work worthwhile,” said Ratliff. “I hope this is an inspiration to the thousands of people who are out there searching for their loved ones that there's still hope.”
10TV News spoke to Flowers’ niece from her home in Bellfontaine.
She said the family is both shocked and relieved this case is finally over.
The plan is to have her uncle's remains returned to his home in Kenton in Hardin County. Her uncle's death was ruled a drowning.
For more information on the program that was used in this identification, you can visit Can You Identify Me?
Watch 10TV News and refresh 10TV.com for continuing coverage.
September 11, 2012: Body Found In 1975 Finally Identified
May 18, 2012: Coroner's Office Releases Facial Reconstruction Of Skull In Hopes Of Identifying Man Found In River