Winnebago County Coroner Takes Final Steps To Identify Body Found In Trash Can

May 22, 2017

The Winnebago County Coroner's Office has been working for most of the past year to identify decomposed human remains which were found in a garbage can outside an apartment building on Market Street in Rockford in July.

Credit Jenna Dooley / WNIJ

The coroner's office later determined it was a middle-aged Caucasian male. Tests indicate lower-spine degeneration, which means the man may have walked a lot.

Winnebago County coroner Bill Hintz said the forensic information helps with the bigger picture.

"The problem is," he said, "if we have nothing to compare it to, if this person has never been in any sort of computerized system where DNA will be, or where anything has been, and obviously his dental records aren’t anywhere, it’s very difficult to try and match it up."

Hintz said his office submitted bone records to an online database.

“This is our final straw," he said. "If this doesn’t show anything, besides putting it back out under the public again, I don’t think there’s anything else we’ll be able to do."

Hintz said the next step would be a proper burial.

“He is somebody," he said. "Whoever he is, he is somebody, and we want to take good care of him."