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FALL RIVER, Mass. – Authorities in Massachusetts have used advanced fingerprint technology to identify the body of a man found in a Fall River landfill in 2005.

Massachusetts state police investigators, along with Fall River detectives, have begun a renewed investigation into the disappearance and death of Leon Brown, 41, of Boston.

Brown, who had multiple sclerosis, had difficulty walking and used leg braces, which were not found with his body or anywhere else in the landfill, according to the Bristol County District Attorney’s Office. He was not initially reported missing.

“Investigators are now probing this case as a suspicious death based on all the circumstances surrounding Mr. Brown’s disappearance, death and the disposal of his body in the Fall River landfill,” District Attorney Thomas Quinn III said in a statement.

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Fall River police officers were called to the landfill Aug. 29, 2005, on the report of a body being found. The dead man, who was described as an African American man between 30 and 40 years old, was unrecognizable due to decomposition.

He had died within a week of his body being found, however. The medical examiner also determined that the man had recently had medical treatment to his left ankle.

“A further search at the landfill in the area where the man was found suggested that his body might have been transported to the landfill in a dump truck from Peabody or the North Shore area,” a news release from Quinn’s office stated.

At the time, attempts to identify the man through fingerprints and dental records were unsuccessful.

“A full DNA profile was later developed and entered into CODIS and NamUs, but those efforts also did not result in identifying this individual,” authorities said.

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That changed when the John Doe became the focus of Quinn’s Unidentified Bodies Project, in which his office’s cold case investigators work to identify each unidentified body found in their jurisdiction over the past 40 years.

The investigators used the man’s fingerprints, which were taken at the time he was found, and subjected them to advanced techniques and upgrades to the Automated Fingerprint Identification System, or AFIS.

Using that data, they were able to identify Brown. Members of the prosecutor’s staff located Brown’s unmarked grave earlier this week in Fall River and placed flowers and a temporary marker with his name.

Quinn said that the case highlights why he decided to expand his office’s Cold Case Unit to include missing persons and unidentified human remains.

“Each of these human remains was a living person who had hopes and human dignity. Doing everything we possibly can to identify them is a crucial first step in then determining what happened to them,” Quinn said. “I am very pleased that we were able to identify Leon Brown, and that his previously unmarked grave will no longer just be an unidentified plot number in the cemetery.”

Anyone with information on Brown or his death is asked to contact cold case investigators at 508-961-1918.