Height:5'8" - 5'10"
Weight:Approx. 165 lbs
EPS File #:79-160846
Description: White male, grey short hair, blue eyes. Wore a leg brace on one knee and walked with a brown cane. Only had one upper tooth.
In 1979, this male suffered a medical episode in a Safeway store and later died in hospital. He had no identification, and no person was sure of who he was, but appeared to be of No Fixed Address. He was later buried without anyone knowing his identity.
If you have any information on this or any other crime, please contact the Edmonton Police Service Complaint Line at 780-423-4567 or the Edmonton Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or submit your tip online at www.tipsubmit.com.
Date Posted: 16-Dec-2014
This man died after collapsing in a store in 1979. And Edmonton police haven't given up trying to put a name on 'Mr. X'.
January 2, 2016 9:00 pm
Otiena Ellwand of the Edmonton Journal has more on the mystery.
File No. 79160846 had a leg brace, two change purses and a hotel key in his pocket when he collapsed in an Edmonton Safeway in 1979. But nearly four decades after he died, no one knows his name.
So the man, who was referred to as Mr. X at the time, was buried anonymously in plot 95 at Edmonton’s Beechmount cemetery.
His family and friends, if he had any, don’t know.
Every year in Alberta, more than 50 people are buried, like Mr. X, without a name or an identity. In 2015, the remains of 56 unidentified or unclaimed people in the province were buried. In 2014, there were 64, and in 2013 there were 89.
The medical examiner’s office uses a number of methods to try to identify remains, including anthropological analysis of the bones to determine gender and age, and facial reconstruction from bones.
But sometimes, after years pass without a match, the body or remains are released to the provincial government’s office of the public guardian and trustee for burial.
They remain in the system as cold cases.
The Edmonton police’s missing persons unit has five such cases, including Mr. X. Three were found in the river: the body of both a man and a woman and leg bones. Another is the body of a woman found dead in a backyard from natural causes. The unit handles the human remain cases that are not believed to be suspicious.
Sgt. Neil Zurawell with the Edmonton Police Service's missing persons unit continues to work on a case from 1979 where a man collapsed in the Safeway store (now Lucky 97) and later died in hospital. The man has never been identified and was buried without anyone knowing his name.
The Mr. X case has stumped police for 36 years, even though it’s one of the most detailed files. That’s why unit Sgt. Neil Zurawell is digging for new clues, hoping someone out there might recall something.
“That one always stood out to me as being more solvable. Ones where you have a body in the river, where it’s decayed and it’s hard to get fingerprints, it’s very difficult … In this case, he’s still in one piece,” Zurawell said.
“There are a lot of little tidbits, little hints as to who he was.”
Dressed in dark green pants, a teal waist-length jacket and a blue peaked cap with a CAT Diesel Power logo, the man collapsed at the Safeway at 10725 97 St., now a Lucky 97, and was taken to the Royal Alexandra Hospital. He died from a brain hemorrhage overnight. He had blue eyes and brown-grey hair; he was five-foot-11 and 165 pounds. Police have pegged him between 45 and 65.
The man was wearing a modified metal knee brace, had a brown cane and was missing several teeth. He was carrying two change purses, one for coins and another that had the name Josie written on it. He had a key for room No. 114 at the now demolished Windsor Hotel in Dawson Creek, B.C., in his coat pocket.
But he didn’t have a piece of identification on him.
His file says he appeared transient, so officers checked shelters, hostels and taverns showing people his picture in the hopes of identifying him. Nothing came of it.
Fingerprints didn’t turn up any matches. He had no criminal record and was not a veteran. There were no missing persons reports filed that matched his description.
Zurawell thinks there could be someone out there who knows this man and has been wondering all these years where he went.
“We talk to the families of missing people every day. … They would like answers. As years go by, some of them realize on their own, “this doesn’t look good,” but they still always wonder. I think they would still like to at least know what happened or where they ended up,” he said.
But until then, he remains Mr. X.