Number 77′s Death

September 8, 2008 at 12:41 AM
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Early in the morning of August 19, 2005, the body of a young black man approximately 16 or 17 years old was found on Wolfe Street, in downtown Baltimore. The corpse lay in a pool of blood, and was dressed in a pair of loose jean shorts over white cotton boxers, a Baltimore Ravens football jersey bearing the number 77 and the name Ortiz, a pair of white cotton athletic socks and a small gold cross on a chain around the body’s neck. The body wore no shoes, and had no wallet or other identifying possessions. Baltimore City police concluded that the young man had been just another victim of the city’s frequent violent crimes. Nobody came forth to claim or identify the body, and it was passed on to the coroner’s office for autopsy. The coroner’s report concluded that the cause of death was blood loss and trauma caused by three shots to the upper chest, one of which penetrated the heart and the other two the left lung.

So far, so normal, right? Here’s the part the official statement left out: There were, indeed, three entry wounds, but there were no exit wounds, and after a thorough search of the body no slugs or fragments were found, nor was there any heat damage. The young man had been killed by three shots to the chest, but there were never any bullets. The body was never identified.

Postscript: As of this writing, the Baltimore Ravens have never had a player who sported the number 77, or who was named Ortiz.

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