Real Name: Jack Allen Davis Jr.
Nicknames: No known nicknames
Location: Indiana, Pennsylvania
Date: October 21, 1987
Details: Twenty-year-old Jack Davis Jr. of Penn Hills was a sophomore at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. On the night of Friday, October 16, 1987, he attended a party with his fraternity brothers. Later that night, he went to some taverns in downtown Indiana. He never returned to his apartment. A few days later on Wednesday, October 21, he was found dead next to Weyandt Hall at the bottom of an exterior staircase.
Authorities believed that Jack had died accidentally. They theorize that he went to the staircase to urinate. Due to his state of intoxication, he passed out and vomited, inhaling it in his lungs. The original pathologist also ruled his death an accident, determining that he died early Saturday morning. However, his family was not convinced of the official scenario. Two years later, a friend told them to contact pathologist Dr. Cyril Wecht to help with the case.
Dr. Wecht was puzzled by the fact that nobody could see Jack's body for the days that it had been in the staircase. He also did not understand why Jack chose to urinate in the certain place where he was found. He believes that Jack, in an inebriated state, would have not gone to such great lengths to conceal himself while urinating. According to the original report, there was no alcohol in his blood, even though he was supposedly drinking heavily on the night of his death. Wecht also found another discrepancy: Jack was clean-shaven on Friday night, but was found dead with heavy stubble on his face. The evidence seemed to suggest that he had died later than Saturday morning.
Wecht also found that the cause of death, choking on vomit, was impossible because food particles were not found in his lungs. Also, Wecht found that the pathologist who completed the autopsy had not opened his skull. His body was exhumed for another autopsy. Wecht found three areas of fracture in the cranial vault of Jack's skull. He determined that the fractures were the cause of death, not choking on vomit.
Wecht then visited the staircase where Jack was found. He did not believe that Jack had fallen or been thrown to his death. He also believed that it was impossible for somebody not to have seen his body lying in the staircase because there were clear views from the window above. A witness later told Jack's family that the staircase was empty two days before his body was found. Also, his body and clothing were not wet, despite the fact that it had been raining heavily in the days prior. Dr. Wecht believed that he died or was injured elsewhere before being placed in the staircase.
Dr. Wecht's findings convinced authorities to reopen the case in October 1990. County prosecutors decided to reclassify Jack's death as "suspicious". However, little new evidence was uncovered and the case was closed again. Authorities still believe that Jack's death was accidental. Wecht and Jack's family hope that new information will come forward and that somebody from the college will bring this information to police.
Suspects: None known; however, reporter Marlene Breenan believes that Jack's death may have been the result of a feud between two fraternities. According to several witnesses, there were at least five fights on campus that night. Marlene believes that he was involved in one and was injured. She also believes that he was held somewhere and that the people thought he was going to be better. However, when he succumbed to his injuries, he was placed in the staircase. This theory has not been confirmed.
Marlene interviewed several students and learned that Jack's fraternity, Sigma Tau Gamma, was not officially recognized by the university. It allegedly had "unsavory" members. Jack's "big brother" in it was allegedly a major cocaine dealer on campus. It is not known if his fraternity brothers were involved in his death.
A bartender was charged with serving drinks to Jack, who was a minor at the time of his death. However, the charges against him were later dropped when a witness could not identify him in court.
Extra Notes: This case first aired as part of a profile on Medical Examiner Dr. Cyril Wecht on the January 6, 1995 episode.
Results: Unsolved. After the case aired, the telecenter was contacted by the current district attorney of Indiana County who pledged to follow up any new leads that may be developed by the program. However, it is not known if any were produced.
In 2005, Jack's family was contacted by a retired Indiana Borough police officer. He claimed that Jack had came to him for protection just two weeks prior to his death. It is not known why he did not contact them or the police sooner. Marlene believes that Jack was attacked by someone he knew. Despite the new leads, the case remains a mystery.
- Jack Davis Jr. on Unsolved.com
- Student's death accidental
- "He was somebody's son, friend..."
- To cite tavern in death of college student
- Charges against bartender dismissed
- Dead man's family says case reopened
- District attorney reopening case
- DA upset over publicity, suspends new death probe
- Indiana coroner seeks to exhume body
- Autopsy confirms IUP student had skull fracture
- Student's death now "suspicious"
- Family says witness claims IUP staircase was empty
- David family gets harassing call
- New book tries to unravel mystery of IUP student's 1987 death
- Jack Davis Jr. on Reddit.com (1)
- Jack Davis Jr. on Reddit.com (2)
- Justice Wanted (book) on Amazon.com