A symbol of death discovered on the corpse of a man found floating in the Mississippi River on Tuesday morning could hold the key to who he was in life.
The Plaquemines Parish Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday released a picture of a macabre skull tattoo found on the chest of the man, who otherwise was too badly decomposed to identify. The tattoo appears to show the initials “CN” in black lettering on the skull’s red throat.
No signs of trauma were discovered on the body, and at this point, authorities do not believe foul play was involved in the man’s death.
Authorities recovered the body near Port Sulphur about 10:20 a.m. Tuesday, but they believe it had been in the water for about a week.
“That’s a pretty distinct tattoo,” Sheriff’s Office spokesman Cmdr. Eric Becnel said. “Hopefully, that will trigger somebody’s memory.”
The body was in such an advanced state of decomposition that the Sheriff’s Office was forced to crop the photo of the tattoo to show only a small area of the chest.
An autopsy performed by the Jefferson Parish Coroner’s Office has not yet produced a time or cause of death.
The Coroner’s Office did determine that the man was white, between 40 and 60 years old, weighing about 230 pounds and standing 6-foot-1 to 6-foot-3. He had a mustache, light brown eyes and short brown hair with a balding crown.
The man was wearing a dark tank top and American Eagle jeans, size 36x34, with a black belt.
Police were able to lift DNA and a partial fingerprint from the body. Running the print through the FBI’s national database did not produce any matches; deputies plan to try to match it against state and local records.
The Sheriff’s Office is scouring missing persons databases to see if the man matches any descriptions.
Becnel said the Sheriff’s Office had received several calls from people who believed they might know the man’s name, but no solid leads as of yet.
Anyone with information about the man’s identity is asked to call Detective Sidney Smith at (504) 564-2525.
The tattoo, Becnel said, is “our best bet to try and break something.”