What is the story of the unidentified dead man who has puzzled Australians since 1948?

unidentified dead man

In 1948 the body of a well-dressed man was found on an Australian beach.

A half-smoked cigarette rested on his shirt collar, and a verse from a Persian poem was found in his pocket, and investigators were unable to identify him.

Several theories have been circulated to solve the mystery, including one that posited that this person, dubbed the "Somerton Man", was a spy.

But more than 70 years later, a researcher says he has solved the mystery, and that this Somerton man is engineer Carl Webb.

He was not a Russian spy, but an electrical engineer, born in Melbourne.

South Australian police did not confirm the findings, but said they would be suspended soon.


On December 1, 1948, beachgoers found a body lying in front of a wall on Somerton Beach in Adelaide, South Australia.

The man was wearing a suit and tie and appeared to be in his forties or fifties.

In his pocket were found bus and train tickets, chewing gum, matches, two hair combs, and a pack of cigarettes. No wallet, no money, no ID were found in his pocket.

Forensic investigators discovered that he had removed the commercial labels from his suit, and suspected that the man had been poisoned.

Other strange finds that baffled authorities also turned out, including a suitcase, other unlabeled clothes, and loose graffiti believed to symbolize something.

In his pocket was a torn piece of paper with the words "It's over" in Farsi.

Investigators sent the prints of the "Somerton Man" to countries around the world, but not everyone was able to identify him.

The man's body was buried in a cemetery in Adelaide in 1949, and his tombstone read: "Here lies an unknown man found on Somerton Beach."

Police exhumed the remains of the unidentified man last year in an attempt to solve the case.

However, a professor at the University of Adelaide, Derek Abbott, dedicated a special effort to solving this mystery.

Abbott was able to analyze the Somerton man's DNA using hair preserved by authorities when she made a plaster model of the man's face.

The university professor has teamed up with famous American forensic expert, Colin Fitzpatrick, who specializes in occult cases, to build an extended family tree using DNA analysis.

The efforts of the two resulted in the identification of only one man, among 4,000 names, Carl Webb, and they tracked down the man's living relatives using DNA analyzes to confirm his identity.

Abbott told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that the discovery "is like the feeling of climbing Mount Everest, and you feel that mixture of joy when you get to the top, but it is also tired and exhausted."

Who is Carl Webb?

Abbott says the man, Carl Webb, was born in 1905 in a Melbourne suburb.

He was the youngest of six siblings and married Dorothy Robertson, better known as Dove Webb, and Abbott adds that this marriage may have been the reason for his move to Adelaide.

He told ABC News: "We found evidence that he broke up with his wife, and she moved to southern Australia, so it's possible that he came after her."

Detective Fitzpatrick now wants to help solve the mystery of his death.

"I'd like to know the toxicology results, and I'd like to keep track of what happened to Dorothy," she told CNN.



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