The Edmond Sun

February 3, 2014

Police hope Cherokee legend tattoo aids homicide ID

Mark Schlachtenhaufen
The Edmond Sun

EDMOND — Investigators hope a tattoo related to a Cherokee legend about a horned serpent helps identify a Logan County homicide victim.

Logan County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Richard Stephens said at about 2:30 p.m. Friday the Langston Fire Department responded to a reported grass fire south of the intersection of County Road 75 and Hiwassee in a rural area.

Stephens said a firefighter on scene discovered the body of an adult in the fire. The fire was extinguished, and the sheriff’s office responded to the scene.

Initial descriptions were difficult to provide, Stephens said. The victim appeared to be an adult. Gender was difficult to ascertain. The body had been bound, and burned.

Stephens said investigators were able to determine the following descriptors: The victim is an adult male, likely to be in 20s to possibly early 30s, about 5-feet 8-inches tall; weight has not been determined. The victim has a tattoo on the right shoulder of a bulls skull with a snake and a tattoo of the seal of the Cherokee Nation on their chest. The victim is likely an American Indian but was probably lighter skinned, Stephens said.

An OSBI forensic artist has provided detailed sketches of the tattoos, Stephens said. The partial tattoo on the bottom is on the victim’s right shoulder. The Cherokees have a legend about the horned serpent called the Uktena. Investigators believe that is part of the tattoo.

“Please take time to speak to your friends, family and neighbors about this case,” Stephens said. “The more eyes we have trying to identify the victim, the more likely we are to succeed.”

Stephens said identifying the victim is critical to the investigation.

“At this point, we have to start at square one and that’s identifying the victim,” Stephens said.

If you have any information related to this case, call the Logan County Sheriff’s Office at 282-4100. | 341-2121, ext. 108