Unidentified Wiki

Monterrey John Doe was a man whose charred body was located in a burned-out SUV on July 11, 1998 near Monterrey, Mexico.


The SUV belonged to John Sankey AKA Madison Rutherford, a Connecticut businessman and conartist, who was on a business trip at the time. Mexican authorities initially identified the body as Rutherford's due to the presence of his inscribed wristwatch and medical alert necklace and believed the car crash was an accident.

However, forensics expert William M. Bass determined that the dental evidence collected from the remains was not consistent of someone who fit Rutherford's description, a thirty-four year old white male, but of a fifty year old Native American who was likely a Mexican peasant.

Rutherford was eventually located and arrested by the FBI on November 7, 2000 in Boston, Massachusetts under the alias "Thomas Bey Hamilton." He confessed to faking his death in an elaborate insurance scam for seven million dollars and to robbing the victim's body from a nearby grave. He then lit the car and body on fire and escaped by riding a bicycle. He gave his wife, Rhynie Jefferson, a tooth of the victim so that Mexican authorities could be manipulated into thinking the victim was him.

Rutherford was convicted for fraud and sentenced five years in federal prison and was released in 2006. Jefferson was also convicted and sentenced to eighteen months in prison and three years of supervised release.

Because the victim was deceased and buried before Rutherford stole his body, his surviving family and/or friends may not be aware of what had happened.


His case was featured in Season 8, Episode 31 of Forensic Files. It first aired on November 20, 2005.