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Police: Only public can solve Exe body mystery

By Exeter Express and Echo  |  Posted: December 06, 2012

By Fran McElhone

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POLICE are still investigating the mystery of how a man died and his body came to be washed up on the banks of the River Exe near Exmouth almost five months ago.

Following the discovery by a dog walker in July, extensive police investigations have amounted to nothing.

But officers said members of the public are continuing to contact them with information.

As previously reported by the Echo, the latest stage of the investigation has involved senior police officers reviewing the case to decide the next course of action.

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A series of forensic tests has been conducted on the man's body, with DNA obtained and checked against the missing persons database and national DNA database, but no match has been found.

And toxicology tests have revealed no traces of drugs or alcohol in the man's system.

A tidal report revealed the man, whose body was discovered early in the morning on Wednesday, July 18, entered the water between Exmouth Marina and Lower Halsdon Farm, where he was found.

Officers have since discounted a link between an abandoned camp on wasteland between the river and King George's Field in Exmouth.

An e-fit image of the man has been released to try to find people who may recognise him and help them locate his next of kin.

The investigation is being led by the coroner and it will conclude when it is believed all inquiries have been exhausted.

An inquest will then be opened into the death of an unidentified person.

DC Blain Bishop, one of the investigating officers, has thanked people for coming forward and is urging people to continue to contact them because any piece of information could provide a link to the unidentified man.

DC Bishop, said: "We are still receiving calls from the public and we are very grateful for people's help.

"As a result we have been given the names of several people which, so far, have been investigated but subsequently discounted.

"We believe that eventually one of the names will lead to us identifying the man, so we remain hopeful."

DC Bishop said the help from the public has helped drive the police investigation forward.

"We would urge members of the public to continue to contact us if they have any information they think could help us with our inquiries," he added.

The man is described as being white, in his 50s or 60s, approximately 6ft tall and of medium to stocky build with short, grey hair styled in a crew cut, which was growing out, and a brown or red moustache.

He was wearing navy-coloured Levis jeans with a blue stain on the right hand back pocket, black Reebok trainers, a black T-shirt, a blue, green and white checked shirt, black socks and a chunky black belt with silver engraved trim.

The man's death is not being treated as suspicious. Detectives believe appealing to people to get in touch with information could be the only way to solve the mystery.

Anyone with any information should call police on 101 and quote reference KE/12/1669.

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