On the early morning of 1 December 1948 on the Somerton beach in Adelaide corpse of unidentified man was found. He looked about 40, well dressed, in good physical condition, there were no signs of violence, he was laying on his back with head resting on seawall and legs pointing to the sea. There was an unlit cigarette behing his ear and a half-smoked cigarette next to him.
A search of his pockets revealed a used bus ticket from the city to St. Leonards, an unused second-class rail ticket from the city to Henley Beach, an aluminium American comb, a half-empty packet of Juicy Fruit chewing gum, an Army Club cigarette packet containing Kensitas cigarettes, and a quarter-full box of Bryant&May matches. The bus stop for which the ticket was used was around 1 kilometre from the point where the body was found.
The autopsy report showed that the man was 180 centimetres (5 ft 11 in) tall, with hazel eyes, fair to ginger-coloured hair, slightly grey around the temples. His hands and nails showed no signs of manual labour, shape of big and little toes suggested that he used to wore boots with pointed toes (like dancers). Pronounced high calf muscles like those of a ballet dancer also suggested that he had something to do with dancing, but it is equally possible that he could have been long-distance runner.
Despite very warm weather he was dressed in knitted pullover and fashionable European grey and brown double-breasted coat. All labels on his clothes were missing, and he had no hat or wallet. Clean-shaven and with no distinguishing marks, the man carried no identification. His teeth did not match the dental records of any known person in Australia.
The internal organs were showing signs of possible poisoning, there was internal haemorrhaging. The pathologist concluded that "the death could not have been natural ... the poison I suggested was a barbiturate or a soluble hypnotic". Also, despite the fact that few eyewitnesses saw the man on the evening of 30 November lying in the same place where he was found in the morning autopsy concluded that he died around 2AM on 1 December.
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