It was Valentine's Day, 1975, when a Belle Chasse couple discovered the lifeless body of a teenage boy hanging from a fruiting persimmon tree. Despite a lengthy suicide note written with a distinctive turn of phrase, in almost 50 years since this John Doe's discovery, no one has stepped forward to claim him as their own.
Estimated between 16-17 years old, the young man was found without shoes, wearing mismatched socks, blue trousers and a yellow and maroon knit shirt. Protected from the elements, he had placed his note in a nearby glass jar. It was addressed simply to 'Mom and Dad'. Over numerous pages of paper, he penned an introspective examination of his inner torment, stating: "When you stop growing you are dead. I stopped growing long ago. I never did develop into a real person and I cannot tolerate the false and empty existence I have created".
But despite addressing the letter to his parents, the articulate young boy did not want to be identified, telling police: "If you pursue who I was (and spend hundreds of dollars) you will accomplish little. There are no legal consequences of my death or any kind of entanglements. All that can happen is that you will shatter the domestic peace and order of two innocent lives. Do not deprive them of the hope that their 'missing' son will return . . .Let me be, let it be as if I wasn't ever here. Simply cremate me as John Doe".
Alluding to some troubling thoughts, the letter goes on to describe how: "It is best if I cease to live, quietly, than risk that later I will break and shatter by violence or linger years under care. I implore you to see a psychiatrist in order that you might understand my death and my life. Ask thoroughly about what I was and you will see that it is not tragic that I am gone, but more natural than if I continued." The inclusion of this statement in initial reports has led some to believe that perhaps the boy had committed a violent crime, or at the very least believed such an event to be inevitable. References to "excellent advantages and privileges and experiences" in a segment directed towards his parents suggest that he was from a fairly well-to-do family, although there was little else in the published excerpts that gave any clues as to his identity.
The description and fingerprints of the Belle Chasse John Doe were circulated across the country but no positive matches have ever been made. When Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana in the summer of 2005, all records pertaining to the case were destroyed. Profoundly troubled, yet seemingly wise beyond his years, it is now all the more likely that he will forever remain unclaimed.
Do you think we will ever find out who was the Belle Chasse John Doe? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.