In the early morning hours of March 4, 2019, in Riverdale, Georgia, just south of Atlanta, a teenage boy was walking along the side of the road when he was hit by a car and killed.
When Clayton County Police Department responded to the scene, what they discovered would be a mystery that would elude them for more than three years. The boy who had been killed had no identification on him and police had no idea who he was. He was wearing multiple layers of clothing and had faded but distinct tattoos: one on his left forearm of the word “Ace” and another, a group of letters at the base of his thumb and forefinger on his right hand.
A forensic artist with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) created a facial reconstruction of what he may have looked like in life, in hopes that someone would recognize the child, his clothes, or his tattoos and come forward with his identity.
But that didn’t happen and for years, the boy was known only as “John Riverdale Doe.”
Until today, when the teenager finally regained his name.
Dywimas was born in August of 2003 and at the time of his death, he would have been 15 years old. On the last day that Dywimas’ mother Shandra saw her son, she remembers his smile and giving him a big hug.
"He told me he loved me,” Shandra said. “And that was the last time I saw him.”
The investigation that helped lead to Dywimas’ identity came from an alert citizen. Police heard from someone who had recognized Dywimas’ tattoos from the NCMEC poster that was sent to targeted areas of metro Atlanta. The information from that citizen helped send detectives in the right direction.
When Shandra and her family heard the news, they were absolutely heartbroken.
“We just wanted to know where he was,” Shandra said. “It is a big loss, a real big loss.”
Shandra remembers her son for his bright personality, she says he loved art and was a very smart kid.
“He was a character and made everyone laugh,” Shandra said.
Dywimas also loved to sing and dance.
“He could really sing,” Shandra said. “I loved when he would sing. He could sing anything from rap to the blues.”
For more information on unidentified children and to visit our Help ID Me page, go to https://www.missingkids.org/theissues/helpidme