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UPDATE: Dental records reveal identity of John Doe whose body was found at Harvard conservation area

Darrell P. Splett, 50.
Darrell P. Splett, 50.

Editor's Note: This article has been changed to correct the name of the conservation area where Darrell P. Splett was found. He was found at the Rush Creek Conservation Area.

A body found in May 2019 at Rush Creek Conservation Area has been identified as a 50-year-old Ingleside man, officials said.

After an 18-month investigation, the McHenry County Coroner's Office identified the man as Darrell P. Splett, according to a news release.

The man's family has said Splett committed suicide and encouraged anyone who is considering harming themselves to contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.

"If you’re contemplating suicide please reach out and get help," a family member said.

The McHenry County Crisis Line also operates around-the-clock and serves as the first point of contact for callers in need of immediate assistance for mental health emergencies. It can be reached at 1-800-892-8900. McHenry County residents can additionally use the McHELP App to reach immediate crisis support and information via text or voice. The app can connect residents with anonymous access to trained, licensed crisis counselors in times of emergency, concern, anxiety, or need.

Reached by phone Friday, Splett's family said the man will be cremated, and no public funeral arrangements are expected.

The McHenry County Conservation District Police Department and the coroner's office were called May 5, 2019, to investigate the death of a man whose body was found at the Rush Creek Conservation Area in Harvard. The body's advanced decomposition hindered investigators' attempts to identify the man, who never was reported missing, according to the release.

Together, the coroner’s office, sheriff’s office, MCCD police, University of Illinois Chicago and Dr. Michael Colvard worked to identify the man, according to the release. Their methods included attempts to obtain partial fingerprints and full-body X-rays to identify any surgically implanted devices that might contain serial numbers.

Investigators also searched a variety of private, federal, state and local databases but did not find a match to their John Doe, according to the release.

In January, the coroner’s office coordinated with the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office in Florida to create a digital facial reconstruction of what the man might have looked like before his death, according to the release.

That image was sent to law enforcement and news outlets throughout Illinois and Wisconsin in April and yielded more than 60 potential leads, according to the release. None of those leads was determined to be a match.

The investigation took a turn in late June, however, when the coroner's office collaborated with Orthram Inc. to identify the man's possible relatives. DNA from one of Splett's siblings was tested, and the family member was interviewed earlier this month, according to the release.

Additional interviews revealed that Splett was scheduled to undergo dental work at the University of Illinois Chicago School of Dentistry in late 2018 or 2019. In light of that new information, investigators requested and obtained dental records from the university. Those records ultimately revealed the man's identity, according to the release.

Splett's body will be returned to his family, who has asked for privacy at this time.

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