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Wagga Wagga John Doe was a male whose headless, naked body was discovered near a reserve in Wagga Wagga, Australia on 26 August, 1879.


On 26 August, 1879, a hairdresser named Blackmore was walking his dog near the riverbank, when it suddenly began scratching and barking at a particular spot near St. John's Church. After approaching the spot, Blackmore sensed a strong and repulsive smell, and after scraping away some gravel, he discovered the remains of a man underneath. Frightened, he informed the police, and Constable Harvison was put in charge of the investigation.

The decedent was described as middle-aged, was entirely nude and his head had been severed by a sharp instrument. Due to decomposition, tattoes and other identifying marks could not be distinguished. No signs of a violent struggle were noticed, aside from a wound to the near the left or right breast. A search was conducted for the head, but it was never recovered. Since no missing persons were reported from the area, it was suggested that the decedent was a stranger passing through the town.

Robert Francis Burns, an Irish Australian farm labourer convicted and sentenced to death for killing a fellow worker named Michael Quinlivan, confessed to murdering seven other men shortly prior to his execution. Among these unconfirmed victims were the Wagga Wagga John Doe and another unidentified man. Burns was hanged at HM Prison Ararat on 25 September 1883.


  • Dark brown hair.