"Mr. X" is the nickname given to a murder victim discovered on a farm near Cleburne, Johnson County, Texas in 1972. The male's case was reopened in 2012, which has led to numerous adjustments to his physical traits. The motive for his murder was possibly out of retaliation.
After investigating the presence of carrion-seeking birds, a farmer located the victim's body in a wooded portion of his property. The unidentified male had been shot twice with a .25 caliber "Saturday night special" pistol; the cause of death was determined to be a wound to his chest. The semi-automatic firearm used in the murder was described as inexpensive and ineffective at a distance.
No clothing was observed on the remains or at the scene. Early investigation proved difficult, as the remains were severely damaged from scavanging animals, and some portions of his body were not recovered. Police were able to infer that Mr. X had possibly not died at the scene and instead at a separate crime scene, as no spent casings were recorded to be where the body was. All of his fingerprints were taken, yet they were not able to confirm who he was. The decedent was later buried in a pauper's grave at the Rosehill Cemetery, after efforts to identify him failed.
About twenty years later, a reporter for a local newspaper met with a man who claimed the murder was the work of "drug dealers," motivated by a need for retaliation.
The case was submitted to a newly-formed cold case unit in 2012. In August 2013, his body was exhumed for further analysis and DNA collection, which yielded an incomplete file for comparison. It was discovered he was considerably younger than what was originally believed. His age approximation was revised from between 30 and 50 to the range of 16 to 24. A low-quality approximation was included with the re-release of information, which was heavily based on the victim's postmortem photograph.
The fingerprint documentation was apparently misplaced at the county sheriff's office, which were hoped to be located for uploading into the national digital database, AFIS. Results of these efforts are unknown at this time. Investigators also suggested a possibility that the victim had possibly been killed while unclothed in a "compromising situation" instead of being stripped down after death.
The remains had deteriorated significantly during the four decades they were interred, most notably the disintegration of his skull, which lacked the mandible recovered during the initial discovery. Efforts have been made to digitally reconstruct what was left of the cranium. Future, modern renderings were planned for release as of July 2017, estimating his appearance with and without a Hispanic/Latino ethnicity.
The DNA Doe Project later became involved in his case, hoping to identify his relatives through genealogy. In October 2020, artist and volunteer Carl Koppelman released an updated approximation for the organization, where the crime scene photograph of the body served as a reference.
- Short, curly brown hair.
- It is believed it was cut not long before his murder and styled according to what was popular at time.