Updated 12:40 p.m. Tuesday with police response to whether Long Beach resident and convicted serial killer Randy Kraft might be a suspect.
A man whose nude body was found on Nov. 10, 1974, in a large condominium complex in Long Beach was identified as a Marine from Des Moines, Iowa, police announced.
The body of Oral Stuart Jr. was found in the carport area of the complex near Spring Street and the San Gabriel (605) Freeway, but the L.A. County Coroner's office was unable to identify the man, or determine what caused his death. He was eventually described as John Doe 155.
But a grant from the National Institute of Justice enabled Long Beach Police Department detectives to reopen the case. The department issued a press release that did not say when that occurred. The following is based on that press release, with Long Beach police department the sole source.
Suspecting the victim might've been in the military because of his physical description at the time, the Long Beach detectives contacted the U.S. Naval Criminal Investigative Service Cold Case Unit at Camp Pendleton.
NCIS identified a U.S. Marine listed as a deserter on Nov. 22, 1974, just 12 days after the discovery of John Doe 155. The history indicated the Marine had specific tattoos on his arms, which matched tattoos observed on John Doe 155 during his autopsy.
The NCIS identified the Marine as Stuart. Family members confirmed photographs of John Doe did indeed depict Stuart. Cold case detectives suspected that Stuart's death involved foul play and the coroner's office reclassified the death as a homicide.
Detectives are still trying to get more answers in the case. They could not immediately be reached to ask about some similiarities with victims of Long Beach resident and notorious serial killer Randy Steven Kraft, who was arrested Mary 14, 1983, after a car stop found him with his fly down and a partially nude 25-year-old El Toro Marine, who turned out to be dead. He was charged with a 1975 murder of a 22-year-old, among 60 young men he was suspected of killing. He was sentenced to death and is remains on death row in California.
Said Long Beach Police Department spokeswoman Lisa Massacani:
"Detectives are aware of Randy Kraft, but do not have a named suspect for this murder, and are hoping the community has information that will point them to a possible suspect. Hopefully the photo will jog people's memory, and we encourage anyone who may remember anything, no matter how insignificant they feel it is, to call. Anything that would help detectives piece together the victim's last hours, like where he was and who he was with, is key."
Anyone with information on the case can call homicide detectives Bryan McMahon or Mike Dugan at (562) 570-7244 or submit anonymous tips via web and text at www.tripsoft.com.
City News Service contributed to this story.