Late on the morning of November 18, 1968, 44 years ago this Sunday, a Pennsylvania State Police trooper patrolling the Pennsylvania Turnpike near the Downingtown interchange came upon a man in a seated position along the side of the roadway. The trooper stopped to check on the man's well being.
The man, who carried no identification, was dead. He had been stabbed once through the heart. A tattoo on his arm of a helmeted bulldog with the letters "USMC" below it strongly suggested that he'd once been in the Marine Corps, but authorities had no other clues to his identity. He was interred as a John Doe, and four decades passed.
On the Doe Network, Pennsylvania Missing Persons [editor's note: links include coroner's photographs that may disturb some readers] and other websites that follow missing and unidentified persons cases, he was known as the "Unidentified White Male" from Downingtown or, in the parlance of the volunteer researchers who try to match names to unidentified bodies, "UID Downingtown."
In 2009, the unidentified man's body was exhumed and the remains sent for DNA analysis.
More than 43 years after his death, authorities earlier this year were finally able to identify him as USMC Corporal Robert Daniel Corriveau of Lawrence, Massachusetts. Corriveau, then a 20-year-old recent returnee from the Vietnam War, was a two-time recipient of the Purple Heart and had been under psychiatric care at the Philadelphia Naval Hospital. He was discovered missing by hospital staff earlier on the morning that his body was found, but a connection between the missing young corporal and the body on the Turnpike was not made at the time.
Corriveau was reinterred near his family in Massachusetts earlier this fall. Now the state police are renewing the search for his killer. They're particularly interested in speaking with anyone who may have served with Corriveau in Vietnam or who may have known him at the Philadelphia Naval Hospital in 1968.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Pennsylvania State Police at 610-268-5158 or to email RA-1968MarineDeath@pa.gov.
- Lawrence Marine's death in Pennsylvania reexamined, nearly 44 years later [Boston Globe]
- State police seek information on 1968 homicide case [Wilkes-Barre Times Leader]