The embalmed head of a man about 60 years old was found on the doorstep of a Georgetown home Saturday morning and D.C. police were still puzzled yesterday over where it came from:
Dr. William J. Brownless, the city's deputy medical examiner, said the head "has features of a Caucasian, but some features are Oriental and I feel he's Oriental.
"It could have been done as a prank," Brownless said, "but we don't consider it that. We consider it desecration of the body until we find out where it came from."
Brownlee said it was impossible to tell how long the person had been dead. Because the head was embalmed, Browlee said, it could have come from a funeral home, a gravesite or a medical school.
The city's three medical schools, at Georgetown, George Washington and Howard universities, yesterday said there are no missing cadavers at their institutions. Police say they have received no reports of body thefts from funeral homes or cemeteries.
The head, which has brownish black hair, was discovered at 7:30 a.m. Saturday by Juan Cardenas as he stepped outside his home at 1710 37th St. NW to take in the morning paper.
Cardenas said he found the head laying in a small cardboard box sitting on top of the newspaper.
"I pushed (the box) off to one side to get the paper," said Cardenas, a 21-year-old government major at Georgetown University. "I went inside and read the paper for awhile.
"I had to go to my parents' house in Falls Church, so I got dressed and went to see my parents," Cardenas said. "On the way over I got to thinking about (the head). I didn't know whether it was some kind of a joke or what. It was very gruesome."
Cardenas said he called his home, where he lives with five other Georgetown students, and one of them then called police.
Cardenas said he didn't immediately call police when he discovered the head "because I didn't really examine it when I found it."