Bombshell twist in 70-year-old ‘Somerton Man’ mystery after poisoned man found dead on beach with coded note in pocket | The Sun

THE MYSTERIOUS case of the "Somerton Man" who was found dead with an eerie coded note in his pocket may have finally been solved.

Some 74 years ago the fully clothed body of an adult man was discovered propped up against the sea wall on Somerton Park beach, Adelaide, Australia.

Detectives found the mystery man was dressed in a suit and tie, carried no identification, and had with him a note printed with the phrase, "Tamam Shud".

The scrap of paper was found in his trousers, and cops found it had been ripped from a book of Persian poems which had been taken from the local library.

And inside that book, they found seemingly coded message believed to have been written by the Somerton Man – sparking speculation he was a Cold War spy and may have been killed with an undetectable poison.

It is a mystery which has baffled cold case investigators for decades, but now 70 years on the man may have been identified as Carl 'Charles' Webb.


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Carl was a 43-year-old from Melbourne – and Adelaide University professor Derek Abbott believes he is the Somerton Man.

No one ever came forward to claim the body despite police appeals – so the body's identity has always been a mystery and his cause of death has also remained unknown.

Prof Abbott, who has been working with American genealogist Colleen Fitzpatrick, used hair from a plaster mask made of the remains in the 1940s to construct a DNA profile.

The professor and genealogist managed to create a family tree of around 4,000 people as they discovered the distant relatives of the Somerton Man.

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By the process of elimination, the investigators were led to Carl, an electrical engineer and musical instrument maker.

Prof Abbott told CNN: "'It just felt like I climbed and I was at the top of Mount Everest."

And they managed to find a link between Carel and the name T.Keane, which was printed on the back of the Somerton Man's tie.

He said: "'It turns out that Carl Webb has a brother-in-law called Thomas Keane, who lived just 20 minutes drive away from him in Victoria.

"So it's not out of the question that these items of clothing he had with T. Keane on them were just hand me downs from his brother-in-law."

Prof Abbott added they also discovered that Carl may have been visiting Adelaide to try and track her down.

South Australia Police – who are continuing to probe the case – are yet to comment on the investigation.


Last year, cops dug up the Somerton Man's body to conduct DNA tests – but said they ran into problems due to the lack of "comparison samples".

Prof Abbott hopes his findings will be verified by the authorities and they will be able to do more research into Carl's life.

No photos are known to exist of him in public databases or relatives' photo albums.

But he is believed to have been a fan of poetry – which could explain the the Somerton Man's link to the Tamam Shud.

And the professor theorised that the coded note may have related to horse names as Carl loved betting on the races.

But despite the latest revelations, the code remains undeciphered.

Carl was born on November 16, 1905, in Melbourne suburb Footscray, and was the youngest of six children.

Little information exists about his life, but he is known to have married Dorothy 'Doff' Robertson.

She later filed for divorce in April 1947 and moved to Bute – around 18 months before the discovery of the Somerton Man.

Police investigating the case back in the 1940s found the body lying on the sand across from a nearby children's home.

He was lying on his back with his head resting against the sewall, with his legs extended and feet crossed.

It is believed he died while asleep.

Cops found an unused train ticket from Adelaide to Henley Beach, a city bus ticket, an American-made comb, a half empty packet of chewing gum, a box of matches, a cigarette packet, and the mysterious note.

He was 5ft 11in tall, with grey eyes, fair hair, and was described as in "top physical condition"

And the only thing unusual about his body was his "wedge shaped" feet – suggesting he always wore pointed shoes, possibly implying he was a ballet dancer.

Witnesses said they had seen the man sitting on the beach, at one point lying on his back, but though he was asleep or drunk.

An autopsy estimated he died around 2am on December 1 – and found his last meal of a pasty eaten around four hours before he died.

The train ticket in his pocket eventually led police to discover a suitcase at the station cloakroom which is believed to been owned by the Somerton Man.

Inside the case, cops foundslippers, a dressing gown, a screwdriver, a knife, a pair of scissors, and trousers with sand in the cuffs.

And they also found a tie marked with the name "T. Keane" – along with a laundry bag and undershirt also marked "Keane".

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Despite this wealth of information and clues – the man's identity remained a total mystery for decades.

And the new investigation provides one of the most significant updates yet on finally cracking the case.

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