Real Name: Unknown (at the time of the broadcast)
Case: Unidentified Remains
Date: September 30, 1991
Location: Paducah, Kentucky
Details: At 6 pm on the evening of September 30, 1991, an unidentified young man approached airport worker Wes Weaver at Paducah Airfield in Kentucky. He asked Wes if he could get a ride on a plane, but Wes said that he could not help him. The man offered his jacket for a ride, but he still refused. It appeared that the man was desperate to head West. However, it did not appear that he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Eventually, the man left, but it would not be the last time he would be seen in the area.
Thirty minutes later, Wes was driving along a road near the airfield when he saw the man again. He watched as the man hopped a fence and ran towards the runway. Two other witnesses saw the man run across the runway until he reached a plane that was preparing for takeoff. The plane was Commuter Flight 2940, which was flying to Memphis, Tennessee. At 6:49 pm, the plane took off.
Linda Leab, who had seen the man run towards the airplane, watched as an object fell from the plane. As darkness fell, airport authorities searched the area in an attempt to find the man. Eventually, they found his body lying next to a fence. It was clear that the man had jumped onto the plane, held onto the wing for several minutes, and fell off.
No identification was found on the man's body. Blood tests revealed no traces of drugs or alcohol in the man's system. The man was well-tanned, with no tan lines. Also, he had his pubic hair shaved in a swimmer's style. Based on his physical appearances, investigators suspected that he may have been part of the Chippendale's group that was in the area. However, this was ruled out.
In the man's jacket pockets, investigators found a pair of swimming goggles. Sewn into the collar was an I.D. tag inscribed "Lt. L.F. Price, U.S.A.F". A check of military records could find no such person.
Investigators are surprised at the physical feats that the young man accomplished. In less than two minutes, he was able to climb over a 7.5 foot fence, traverse 800 feet of terrain (including one ditch system), run around the aircraft's tail section, and climb onto the aircraft. On the runway, the plane eventually reached speeds of over 125 miles per hour. After takeoff, the speed increased to more than 190 miles per hours. Somehow, the man was still able to hold onto the wing with no handholds, until the plane reached about 3000 feet in the air.
As of yet, the man remains unidentified. Investigators hope that finding the man's identity and his family will help them to understand why the man decided to climb onto this plane, leading to his death. A headstone was placed above the man's grave, which reads: "unidentified, about 25 years of age, fell to his death from an airplane at Barkley Regional Airport, Sept. 30, 1991."
Extra Notes: The case was featured as a part of the September 16, 1992 episode.
Results: Solved. In 1997, a woman named Dee Duecker watched a repeat of this segment and believed the man was her missing son, a twenty-eight-year-old marathon runner named Brian Stanley Duecker. He had vanished from Cincinnati, Ohio, on September 26, 1991, leaving his ID and a note behind. The note mentioned that he wanted to head West. When Dee contacted investigators, they claimed that he did not match the description of the John Doe.
However, she was still convinced that the Doe was her son. After reading an online article about the unidentified man, she was put in contact with a writer from Paducah who forwarded a photograph of Brian to investigators. In 1999, fingerprints confirmed that the John Doe was Brian. According to his family, Brian suffered from schizophrenia. It is believed that this is why he acted strangely at the airport and later jumped onto the plane.
His family has since added a second marker to his grave, which lists his name and date of birth.
- Paducah, Ky.'s 'John Doe' was somebody's beloved son
- Man killed in 1991 fall from plane finally identified
- From across the miles, compassion brings communities together
- Brian Deucker at Find A Grave