POLICE are calling on amateur sleuths for help – after a man was found dead with an ‘unsolvable’ code hidden on his body, The Sun reports. The badly decomposed remains of 41-year-old Ricky McCormick were discovered in an abandoned cornfield in St. Louis, Missouri, US in 1999.
An autopsy couldn’t determine the cause of death – and cops failed to establish any motive for his death. All they had to go on was two scraps of paper in his trouser pockets, with encrypted code scrawled on them. Experts from the FBI spent over a decade trying to decypher the code, before releasing them to the public, hoping someone would be able to help them unravel the mystery.
When the FBI released all the details of the case, cryptology specialist Dan Olson explained: “We are really good at what we do, but we could use some help with this one. “Breaking the code could reveal the victim’s whereabouts before his death and could lead to the solution of a homicide. Not every cipher we get arrives at our door under those circumstances.”
But five years on no one has been able to crack the mysterious collection of letters and numbers. One theory is that McCormack was bipolar or suffered from schizophrenia – and that the note was a shorthand he created for himself.
An amateur sleuth wrote on a Reddit thread dedicated to the mystery: “My schizophrenic mother had a similar penchant for writing that made no sense to anyone but her.” Another added: “Having worked with folks who are brain injured, I have to tell you, this looks an awful lot like the sort of gibberish they would write.”
McCormick’s cousin Charles backs up the suggestion, revealing he suspected Ricky suffered from mental illness as he would often talk “like he was in another world”. But cryptologist Elonka Dunin believes it’s a genuine code and that McCormick may have been a courier who was killed while delivering a message to someone.
In 2016 the mystery remains unsolved. Can you solve it?