Warwick police release composite of potential City Park murder suspect

John "Jack" Fay (right) was murdered while he was jogging at Warwick City Park three years ago. Based on blood and tissue evidence police found at the scene, a company created a composite profile of what the "unknown male" suspect potentially looks like.

Tuesday marks three years since John "Jack" Fay Jr., a retired postal worker and Vietnam veteran, was mysteriously murdered at Warwick City Park.

Now, based on blood and tissue evidence police found at the crime scene, NBC 10 News obtained a composite profile of what the "unknown male" suspect potentially looks like.

The profile, which Warwick police said was generated through the Snapshot Forensic DNA Phenotyping System, predicts that the sample possibly belongs to a man with a light or dark olive complexion. It's probable he has brown or blonde hair, as well as brown or hazel eyes.

Results show a deeper look at the suspect's predicted and excluded phenotypes, or traits:

  • Skin Color: 89.5 percent confidence the suspect has light olive or dark olive skin. There's also a 94.6 percent chance he doesn't have fair skin and a 99.9 percent chance he does not have dark skin.
  • Eye Color: 95 percent confidence he has hazel or brown eyes, with a 99 percent chance he doesn't have black eyes, a 98 percent chance he does not have blue eyes, and a 95 percent chance he does not have green eyes.
  • Hair Color: 82.1 percent confidence he has brown or blond hair, with a 79.5 percent confidence his hair is brown.
  • Freckles: 91.7 percent confidence he has "not many" freckles, as well as a 77.2 percent confidence he has no or few freckles.
  • Ancestry: 62.8 percent probability the suspect is of European descent, and a 35.7 percent probability he is Middle Eastern.

The profile also indicates that he likely has a more angular, narrower face, as well as a narrower jaw. It's possible he has a wide nose and mouth, which both protrude, plus a large brow, small chin, and small, sunken eyes.

But Det. Sgt. Mark Canning of the Warwick Police Department reminded the public that there is other information to consider when looking at the composite photo.

"This picture is not telling you that that's our suspect. The odds of us making an arrest of a guy that looks just like this are about slim to none," Canning told NBC 10 News during an interview, noting that the composite prediction depicts the tested subject at about 25-years-old and an average body-mass index. "That doesn't mean that the suspect's not 13 or 85. The person could be any age, weigh 500 pounds, or have facial hair."

The composite also doesn't predict hair length or other environmental factors that would change a person's appearance. Height is not specified.

"The guy could be bald or have long hair or hair that could be dyed," Canning said. "It's not like a witness saw this at the scene and this is a composite drawing. The computer used a generic age and created the picture as a baseline. It's completely different."

Still, police said they decided to release the composite in hopes of generating new leads. Canning said he wonders if the public has valuable information they are yet to share with authorities.

"We want to put this case back in people's minds," he said.

Fay was attacked and killed around 4:25 a.m. on May 17, 2013 during his daily run, police said. A jogger discovered his remains in a trash barrel along a walking path the next day.

Police believe the 66-year-old Army veteran and Purple Heart recipient was killed not far from where his body was found. Canning said the cause of death was blunt force trauma and sharp force trauma.

In January 2014, police released photos of a sledgehammer that was located near the murder scene.

"It was found in very close proximity to the body," Canning said.

But police are still trying to confirm or rule out it's use in the case.

"As far as it's level of involvement, it really hasn't been determined what role, if any, it played in the event," Capt. Christopher Stewart told NBC 10. "It's not anything I can tell you was definitely used."

Police are also working to determine whether Fay was targeted, but were mum on details.

"There's evidence that says it's random, and there's evidence that says it could be targeted," Canning said without elaborating. "Those are things that we keep close to the chest, but these are also things that would only be known by the killer. We don't want to give it away."

Police went on to note that they are still following leads and looking at potential suspects. Canning is confident the DNA sample found at the scene will eventually track the killer.

"It's the highest form of DNA you can have for comparison," he said.

While Canning said the sample is filed in the Combined DNA Index System, which is a central database of known convicted felons, it isn't a match.

But Canning said the department regularly runs the DNA profile through the system just in case.

"When and if the person responsible is arrested for a felony and he was to be convicted, that will automatically match to the unknown DNA sample in the Fay case," Canning said. "It will notify us who matched it. When somebody who commits a crime like this, I have a hard time believing will they will go the rest of their life without reoffending."

Meanwhile, Fay's loved ones hope for justice. Along with help from friends and strangers alike, his family raised $25,000, which police are offering as a reward to anyone who shares information that leads to a conviction.

Fay's daughter, Meaghan, told NBC 10 she's glad police released the composite.

"Hopefully, if someone knows something or recognizes the DNA composite, they will do the right thing and come forward," Meaghan said Monday morning.

She also said she thinks at least two suspects are responsible for her father's death.

"My family and I strongly believe more than one person was involved, it's just they only have DNA from one of the attackers," Meaghan told NBC 10. "They have this person's DNA because my Dad was fighting back."

Canning confirmed that evidence suggests Fay fought his attacker. He also said it's not uncommon for multiple people to commit a crime and only get evidence from one.

"When and if found, that suspect will lead us to whoever else was involved -- if there's anybody," Canning said. "We want to solve this case not only to bring justice and closure to the family, but to make the citizens rest easier. We don't consider this a cold case yet because there's still stuff to work on. My gut instinct is that it will be resolved and I believe that because of the DNA profile."

For Meaghan, coping with the murder "continues to be very painful." She wants closure for her family and justice for her father.

"We know the only reason he was there was for his early morning run," Meaghan said. "These people attacked an innocent, retired man out on his morning jog and so far, they have gotten away with it."

If anyone has information that might be relevant to the case, police said to contact Canning at 401-468-4236 or Detective John McHale at 401-468-4267. The anonymous TIP line can be reached at 401-732-TIPS.

The Snapshot Forensic DNA Phenotyping System was made by Parabon Nanolabs Inc. with funding from the U.S. Department if Defense. Learn more here.

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