ST. TAMMANY PARISH, La. (WGNO) — More than five years after a dismembered, decomposing body was found on the North Shore, a chilling discovery of a human foot in Mississippi has led detectives to identify the victim.
On Friday (Oct. 7), St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Randy Smith confirmed that the victim in the homicide investigation as a man named Kleanthis Konstantinidis. Back in July of 2016, a passerby found Konstantinidis’ body in the Rigolets along U.S. 90.
Initial reports from the sheriff’s office say the body was missing both arms and one leg that had been dismembered below the knee. Additionally, there was a scar on the victim’s chest, potentially from open heart surgery.
Deputies said the body was in such a decayed state that they were unable to determine the person’s age and race, however, more information was revealed following the autopsy. What they knew was that the victim was 5’10, about 65 years old, and had died of blunt-force trauma to the head.
Despite efforts to identify the victim, including releasing a sketch of what the victim possibly looked like, detectives almost three years investigating potential leads but had no luck in determining who the victim was and who was responsible. However, it wasn’t until a shocking discovery during a natural death investigation in Mississippi that brought new light to the investigation.
In April of 2019, the Biloxi Police Department was investigating the death of a man named Phillip Pointer, who was believed to have died of natural causes. During that investigation, police learned that a human foot had been discovered in a bucket on Pointer’s property.
Although they didn’t know it yet, the discovery of that food would bring answers that deputies had been searching for for years. DNA from the foot was matched to the body dumped in the Rigolets almost three years before.
Sheriff Smith says the foot sparked new leads in the investigation, including several interviews and a new amount of evidence to comb through. This came with the help of the LSU FACES Lab, Biloxi Police, and the DNA Doe Project, a non-profit that uses genealogy to identify unknown deceased people.
At last, the STPSO was able to find a living relative of the victim who was living in the northern United States. A DNA sample from the relative compared to the victim confirmed that the body belonged to Konstantinidis.
So now, the question that still remains is…Was Phillip Pointer involved? The short answer is, detectives are not sure. So far, deputies have deemed the deceased Pointer as the primary suspect in the investigation. However, there is still work to be done to determine when, where, and how Konstantinidis died. Sheriff Smith says the sheriff’s office is working closely with Biloxi PD in the investigation.