VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) - After more than 11 years, a Virginia Beach man who collapsed and died at a Burger King has been identified thanks to a splatter of paint and the curiosity of a detective.
Police said the man ran into a Burger King Oct. 16, 2001,and fell on the floor. He was later pronounced dead at a hospital and police said he died of natural causes. The man was not identified for years because he had no identification with him at the time.
Virginia Beach Detective Kevin Lokey said he could not accept that no one knew a missing person.
"I had to find a name for the man to notify his family and friends," Lokey said.
Lokey searched old files, went online to a national database for missing persons and pulled out the man's clothes from a police locker.
He took a new look at the shoes, shirt and pants the man had on the day he walked into the fast food restaurant off Laskin Road.
"The one thing that was on his clothes that was a huge piece of evidence was paint. He had a lot of paint splatter on his pants and it appeared to be fresh. Not like it had been laundered," Lokey said.
"Samuel Barnard, who he was later identified as, was a handyman at the Oceanfront and painted apartments and had been painting the day he died," Lokey said.
A missing person's report was taken months after his death but with no ID, police had little to go on.
"If Mr. Barnard had had his wallet with his ID card on him, he would have been identified that very day. His family and friends would have known right away," Lokey said.
After all these years, the hope is that Barnard will get a proper tombstone with his name on it at a local cemetary.
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