Gwinnett County

Do you know him? GBI releases 3D model in hopes of identifying remains

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — For three years, investigators have been trying to identify remains found in the woods. Channel 2's Tony Thomas met with investigators on Tuesday who showed him a 3D model of what they believe the victim looked like in life.

In 2015, a crew discovered a skull while clearing brush in the Buford woods. Investigators told Thomas they originally thought the skull was a Halloween prop but, when they inspected it further, they realized it was the real thing.

Investigators aren't sure how long the remains have been in the woods but said it's likely been years.

Thomas spoke exclusively with Kelly Lawson, the artist who constructed the model, about the process.


The remains were found in Buford in 2015.

Lawson isn't sure about every detail of how the missing man looked but she believes the model is a pretty good replica.

"This is an actual sculpture on top of his bones in an effort to figure out what he looks like," she said.

Investigators gave Thomas photos they took when the skull was found in the brush off Davis Road near Buford Highway.

Lawson first drew a sketch of what she believes the man looked like using known characteristics of the skull. Then, during the past few weeks, she created the model.

Artist Kelly Lawson with a 3D model she helped create to help GBI identify human remains discovered in 2015

"There are certain things that we can certainly derive from the skull, like how a person's eyes would be shaped, how their nose is shaped, and length," she said.

Lawson said not be distracted by the model's eye color, hairstyle or facial hair, which are just guesses.

"You'll notice he had more of a square or round face and that's unique to him," she said.

Authorities told Thomas they have checked, and the remains are not those of Justin Gaines, a Gwinnett County man who has been missing for several years.