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Police Are Digging Up The Body Of 'One Of Australia's Most Profound Mysteries'

Stewart Perrie

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Police Are Digging Up The Body Of 'One Of Australia's Most Profound Mysteries'

South Australian police are exhuming the body belonging to the Somerton Man.

More than 70 years after the bloke was discovered on a South Australian beach, the Tamám Shud case is still a complete mystery.

But authorities are confident new DNA testing could be undertaken to find out the identity of the body and have ordered for his bones to be brought to the surface.

Detective Superintendent Des Bray is hopeful this new direction in the case will get them a step closer to solving it.

"Following recovery of the remains Forensic Science SA will attempt to recover a DNA profile from the man," he said.

"If a DNA profile can be obtained, and subject the amount and quality of the DNA a forensic case meeting will be held to formulate the most appropriate DNA strategy which will then require considerable investigation work to have any chance of identifying the man or where he originated from."

Credit: South Australia Police
Credit: South Australia Police

The story of The Somerton Man goes like this...

People walking along Somerton Beach back in 1948 stumbled across a man who they thought was asleep.

It was later discovered that he was dead and police launched an investigation into what happened.

There was a bunch of stuff found on the man's body, but what was of particular interest was a scrap of paper from a rare edition of a poetry book called the Rubaiyat Of Mar Khayyam.

The scrap contained the Persian words 'Tamam Shud', which translates to 'it is finished'. That's where the case name is derived, which is ironic considering the case is most definitely not finished.

Detectives managed to track down the book where the page was ripped from and they discovered there were indentations on the back of the novel.

They were all in capital letters and there have been a bunch of theories what the five lines of characters mean.

Credit: South Australia Police
Credit: South Australia Police

Even more interestingly, there was also a phone number found in the book and police traced it to a woman who was living very close by.

Jessica Ellen 'Jo' Thomson said she didn't know why her number was in the Somerton Man's book and didn't want to be part of the investigation.

Police returned with a plaster case of the man's head and she again said she had no clue who the man was.

But Detective Sergeant Lionel Leane described how when Thomson viewed the bust she was 'completely taken aback, to the point of giving the appearance that she was about to faint'. Another person in the room remembered how the nurse refused to look at it again after seeing it for the first time.

There have been loads of theories about whether he was a spy, considering he was in 'top physical condition', was 'of "Britisher" appearance', and there was no one or record that could identify him, however nothing has been confirmed.

Now, more than seven decades later it's hoped we could soon get an answer.

Forensic Science SA's Assistant Director of Operations, Doctor Anne Coxon said: "The technology available to us now is clearly light years ahead of the techniques available when this body was discovered in the late 1940s.

"Tests of this nature are often highly complex and will take time, however we will be using every method at our disposal to try and bring closure to this enduring mystery."

Featured Image Credit: South Australia Police

Topics: Australia

Stewart Perrie
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