Man who fell from downtown Phoenix building 18 years ago identified

Frank R. Beck was finally identified 18 years after his death.
Frank R. Beck was finally identified 18 years after his death.(Arizona's Family)
Published: Oct. 20, 2022 at 4:13 PM MST|Updated: Oct. 21, 2022 at 10:01 AM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — The DNA Doe Project identified a homeless man who police found dead in downtown Phoenix on Oct. 19, 2004. A blog post by the group said the man was found exactly 18 years ago Wednesday. Based on his injuries, the project said Frank R. Beck likely fell to his death from a tall building near Central Avenue and Monroe Street.

The Maricopa Examiner’s Office approached the Project about Beck, according to the blog. The case was handled by eight apprentice genetic genealogists who worked under the supervision of experienced lead volunteers. “Thanks to our excellent relationship with the Phoenix Police Department and the Maricopa County Medical Examiner’s Office,” said Cairenn Binder, the project director of Education and Development, “we were able to restore the name of this former John Doe and advance the field of investigative genetic genealogy by using this case for an education initiative.”

Beck was 57 years old when he died. He was originally from Pennsylvania, according to the blog. Investigators at the time couldn’t figure out who he was, even by the surgical implant in his right leg. He was living in Arizona since the 1990s but became homeless. The description police gave back then was that he had blue eyes, gray hair, was missing many of his teeth and had a surgical implant in his right ankle, indicating he had a limp. When he died, he had on green Levi’s jeans, and he was about 5′7″ and 145 pounds.

“It has been so rewarding to see all of the pieces of the puzzle come together,” Project member Cynthia Gabbard said. “Every match that we added to the tree helped come to the final result. I’m so honored to be a part of this team that has given this man his identity back.”