Perth scientists have breathed life into a decades old German mystery of an unknown man's body found floating in the North Sea by using a new forensic technique that revealed he may have spent most of his life in Australia.
The man, dubbed The Gentleman by investigators in 1994 after his body was found by police off the coast of Helgoland, a German archipelago, was weighed down by cast iron cobbler's feet.
He earned the nickname of The Gentleman due to his smart clothing, a wool tie, British-made shoes, French-made trousers and a long-sleeve blue dress shirt.
The case has baffled German police for 28 years, but criminologists and forensic scientists from Murdoch University may have helped unravel the mystery after they ran new tests.
They found the man and spent most of his life in Australia. Investigators determined he was 45 to 50 years old in the 1990s.
The announcement marks the last day of Australia's National Missing Persons Week on Saturday.
The discovery was made by conducting an isotope ratio analysis of The Gentleman's bones.
Differences in climate, soil, and human activity around the globe change the isotopic compositions of food, water and even dust reflected in the isotopic compositions of human tissue.
Analysis showed that the man probably spent most of his life in Australia.
Researchers from overseas universities were able to get a DNA profile of the man.
There is a hope that it could match with DNA collected as part of Missing Persons Week, where authorities have been calling for Australians to come forward for testing to help solve some of the nation's cold cases.
Brendan Chapman, one of the directors of the Cold Case Review team at Murdoch University, said it was an unbelievable discovery.
What are the chances that one would be from the country where the man came from? He said something.
Investigators have been slowly piecing together The Gentleman's past for years.
His shoes were expensive, and his distinctive green, yellow and blue striped tie may have signalled he belongs to a specific organisation, as he was weighed down with iron tools only recently disclosed by the police.