John 'Boulder Highway' Doe identified by his fingerprints after tips from public
LAS VEGAS (KSNV) —
John 'Boulder Highway' Doe was case number 17-8630 at the coroner’s office for nearly a year. After a story aired on News 3 to help identify him, the coroner’s office started getting calls from people who said they knew his name.
He was identified as 19-year-old Blake Mitchell.
People close to him say he loved baseball, drawing, and skateboarding. He was dedicated to learning new tricks.
Mitchell was riding his skateboard near Boulder Highway and U.S. 95 when he collided with a car, killing him. After the fact, the coroner’s office thought they would get phone calls, but they never heard from anyone.
Investigators tried to identify him with fingerprints and DNA, but they didn’t have a match until nearly a year later.
Lorie Anna Carolus and his uncle Eddie spoke about their interactions with this young man who liked to drift around on his skateboard.
"For so long I've been wanted to know what happened to him,” AnnaCarolus said.
She used to watch him on his skateboard while he was practicing at a local park. He would touch base enough that when he disappeared for more than a few days, his friends and loved ones wondered what happened.
“He was like a free spirit. When he wanted to go he would go,” Jason White said.
White was like a big brother to him and other kids who needed food and a place to crash. White is an ordained minister and plans to hold a memorial on his behalf, now that Mitchell has been found.
As it turns out, Mitchell was reported as a missing person four times, but it was never connected to Mitchell’s body. And as a 19-year-old adult, with no known dangers, no one knew if he just drifted away on his own.
Coroner John Fudenberg said his office learns lessons from cases like this one.
Mitchell was fingerprinted as a juvenile, but those records are not easily accessed due to privacy issues after they become adults.
Fudenberg said that the coroner’s office is not being able to query juvenile fingerprints from a blind search, which can be a huge barrier. He said there are laws in place to protect the privacy of juveniles and until they know the name of the person who died they cannot request the files from Clark County Department of Juvenile Services. However, with a name, they were able to pull the fingerprints and compare them using LVMPD's fingerprint system.
Now, that Blake Mitchell has been identified friends are ready to say goodbye. They plan to meet up at Nevada Trails on Saturday for a memorial. His uncle Eddie said as devastating as the news was when they found out, at least they have an answer on what happened.