Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Vincent Foster

The Body

Fort Marcy Park sign
Fort Marcy Park sign

Traffic was snarled along the George Washington Memorial Parkway for miles in the sweltering 96 degree heat, and Dale Kyle really had to go. At 5:30 p.m. on July 20, 1993, the construction worker from Midland, Va., pulled his white Chevy van off the highway into Fort Marcy Park, a rolling collection of hills and earthworks originally built as part of a chain of Civil War fortifications around the nation's capital. Kyle, who was familiar with the park's layout, pulled into the parking lot, hung his perspiration-soaked shirt on the side mirror to dry and ventured into the park's woods to relieve himself.

Cannon near where body was found
Cannon near where body was found

To get away from the other park visitors Kyle ventured some two hundred yards into the brush. As he relieved himself he spotted what looked like a mound of trash off to his right. Fort Marcy was one of his favorite parks; he often stopped here on his way back from viewing art at the Smithsonian Institute, and it bothered him when people littered. He neared one of the park's Civil War-era cannons, and the surroundings lay utterly still as he looked down from atop a berm. Instead of a pile of cheeseburger wrappers, though, the shirtless construction worker found a dead body.

"There was a tiny bit of dried blood around the mouth and nose, so I thought maybe he'd been hit on the back of the head," he said later. Kyle went in to take a closer look. He would later recall flies buzzing around the dead man's mouth and nose, the dead man laying on his back, clad in a white business shirt unruffled and clean with his arms and hands out straight at his sides, palms up. "He looked as if he'd been dead for a long time; I mean hours." Kyle then looked for a gun, and didn't see one, an act which would make him famous to the legion of conspiracy theorists who would accumulate around the case presented by this dead body.

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