Real Name: Unknown (at the time of broadcast)
Case: Unidentified Remains
Location: Paducah, Kentucky
Date: September 30, 1991
Details: At 6pm on the evening of September 30, 1991, an unidentified young man approached airport worker Wes Weaver at Barkley Regional Airport in Paducah, Kentucky. He asked Wes if he could get a ride on a plane, but Wes said that he could not help him. The man offered his jacket for a ride, but Wes still refused. It appeared that the man was desperate to head west. However, it did not appear that he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Eventually, he left, but it would not be the last time he would be seen in the area.
Thirty minutes later, Wes was driving along a road near the airfield when he saw the man again. He watched as the man hopped a fence and ran toward the runway. Two other witnesses saw him run across the runway until he reached a plane that was preparing for takeoff: Northwest Airlines Flight 2940, en route to Memphis, Tennessee. At 6:49pm, it took off.
Linda Leab, who had seen the man run towards the plane, watched as an object fell from it. As darkness fell, airport authorities searched the area in an attempt to find the man. Eventually, they found his body lying next to a fence. It was clear that he had jumped onto the plane, held onto its wing for several minutes, and fell off.
No identification was found on the man's body. Blood tests revealed no traces of drugs or alcohol in his system. He was well-tanned with no tan lines and he had his pubic hair shaved in a swimmer's style. Based on his physical appearances, investigators suspected that he may have been part of the Chippendale's group that was in the area. However, this was ruled out.
In the man's jacket pockets, investigators found a pair of swimming goggles. Sewn into the collar was an I.D. tag inscribed "Lt. L.F. Price, U.S.A.F". A check of military records could find no such person.
Investigators were surprised at the physical feats that the man accomplished. In less than two minutes, he was able to climb over a 7.5 foot fence, traverse 800 feet of terrain (including one ditch system), run around the plane's tail section, and climb onto it. On the runway, the plane eventually reached speeds of over 125 miles per hour. After takeoff, the speed increased to more than 190 miles per hour. Somehow, he was still able to hold onto the plane's wing with no handholds, until it reached about 3000 feet in the air.
As of yet, the man remains unidentified. Investigators hope that finding his identity and his family will help them to understand why he decided to climb onto this plane, leading to his death. A headstone was placed above his grave, which reads: "unidentified, about 25 years of age, fell to his death from an airplane at Barkley Regional Airport, September 30, 1991."
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the September 16, 1992 episode, along with Estelle.
Results: Solved. In 1997, a woman named Dee Duecker watched a repeat of the broadcast and believed the man was her missing stepson, a twenty-eight-year-old marathon runner named Brian Duecker. He was last seen by his family on September 26, 1991, when his sister visited him at his apartment in Cincinnati, Ohio. She noticed that he was busy cleaning the apartment, acting irritated and preoccupied. She felt he was acting strange so she left. The next day, his father went to his apartment, but he was not there. He left his ID, a handwritten will, and a note behind. The note mentioned that he wanted to head west to go mountain climbing. His family reported him missing soon after, but there weren't many leads until Dee saw the repeat broadcast. However, when she contacted Paducah investigators, they claimed that he did not match the man's description.
However, Dee was still convinced that the man was Brian. After reading an online article from "The Paducah Sun" about him, she was put in contact with a writer from Paducah who forwarded a photograph of Brian to investigators. In June 1999, fingerprints confirmed that it was him. According to his family, he was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic when he was twenty-two. As a result, he often thought that people were following him. He also had difficulty separating his imagination from reality. It is believed that his mental issues may explain why he acted strangely at the airport and later jumped onto the plane.
Brian's family has since added a second marker to his grave, which lists his name and date of birth of March 9, 1963.
- Plane fall victim is laid to rest for now - November 14, 1991
- Dental records may identify man who fell from plane - March 5, 1992
- Chance of identifying hitchhiker unlikely - September 28, 1992
- Man killed in 1991 fall from plane finally identified - June 9, 1999
- Man who fell from plane at Barkley in '91 identified
- Brian Duecker was an avid runner and schizophrenic from Cincinnati - June 9, 1999
- Police identify body that fell from plane - June 11, 1999
- Mystery man identified - Family copes with son’s death after answers are found - June 15, 1999
- Paducah, Kentucky's "John Doe" was somebody's beloved son - August 6, 1999
- John Doe mystery ended with ID of Brian Duecker - December 31, 1999
- Positive ID ended John Doe mystery
- Airport Celebrates Roof's 40 Years of Service - July 4, 2014
- Tour among the dead brings Paducah's stories back to life - September 17, 2019
- Brian Duecker on Find a Grave