San Diego Police Department

San Diego County Medical Examiner Seeks Clues on Burn Victim's Identity

Investigators with the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office said the unknown man was so severely burned when officials found him on July 4, they couldn’t use his fingerprints to identify him

A man found critically burned in Carmel Valley last month told first responders his name was “Randy” but, one month later, investigators still don’t know who he was.

The man – who is, for now, known simply as “John Doe” – was found on July 4, at around 9 p.m. under an overpass bridge at Old El Camino Real and Carmel Valley Road by officials with the San Diego Police Department and San Diego Fire-Rescue Department.

He was severely burned.

Medics took him to UC San Diego’s Medical Center Burn Unit. Six days later, on July 10, he died at the hospital.

Due to the man’s extensive burns, officials were not able to use his fingerprints to identify him. The injuries also prevented officials from determining if he had tattoos, a birthmark, or any other distinct markings.

So, who was John Doe?

On Friday, the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office said investigators are asking for clues from the public to help to identify the man, so they can notify his family of his death.

ME investigator Tessa Lee said John Doe was likely homeless. She also believes he may have set himself on fire under that overpass.

The ME’s office said the man was either Caucasian or Hispanic, with short, dark hair and green or hazel eyes. He was between 5-foot-9 to 5-foot-11 and weighed around 270 pounds. As far as age, investigators believe he was in his 20s to early-40s.

The ME’s office released a rendering of the unidentified man created by a forensic artist.

Anyone with information about John Doe can reach out to ME investigators at (858) 694-2905. The reference number for this case is 2019-01765.

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