I recently discovered a very informative newspaper article about the “Leather Man” from June 2005. The article describes a plan to take a DNA sample from the Leatherman to help in “…solving the mystery of this anonymous man’s life”. It goes on to say that DNA could “…help identify the Leather Man.” The two people describing this plan to the reporter in June 2005 are Dan Deluca and Norm MacDonald, two of the principals in the current project. Here are their exact words then, and now.
From the Meriden-Record Journal June 6, 2005:
“I would like to see him identified, It would be quite a find.” MacDonald said
“I want to know. It is to solve the mystery.” (Dan Deluca)
From “Leave the Leatherman Alone.com” Dec 13, 2010
“The goal is not to determine his identity. The Old Leather Man will always remain as he lived a mystery” (Dan Deluca,)
Another point of interest is the acknowledgement by Mr. MacDonald that in 2005 pedestrian safety was already an issue at the gravesite, so the OHS was considering moving the grave. Then comes this statement: “However, they have to keep his grave within the confines of Sparta Cemetery, or they would need to get a court order for the removal.” Yet it has taken almost six years to address the safety issues. Does this have anything to do with Deoxyribonucleic acid - aka DNA?
“He (MacDonald) said the Society is considering moving the Leather Man’s grave…to a more secure location for pedestrians” (Meriden-Record Journal June 6, 2005)
Citing safety concerns, the society has filed a petition for permission to dig up and relocate the famed hobo’s body. “We’re responsible if someone’s hurt there,” says MacDonald (Fairfield Weekly, Jan 11, 2011)
Putting all of these statements in perspective paints a clear picture for me of what is really going on here. It is and always has been about the forensic testing and the DNA to solve the mystery and identify the Leather Man. The safety issues could have been resolved long ago, but getting approval for DNA extraction from the Leatherman’s remains has had an undeniably strong role in determining the pace of events.
Once again, I ask: Will someone from the team lay this all out for us and show how from start to finish, the public’s best interests are being served?