John Doe #2

Immediately after the April 19, 1995, bombing of the Alfred R. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, federal investigators released sketches of two suspects, initially identified only as John Doe #1 and John Doe #2.

Investigators later arrested Timothy McVeigh, saying he was John Doe #1. McVeigh was later convicted of the bombing and sentenced to death.

However, no arrests were ever made for John Doe #2. Investigators would eventually say that an innocent Army private resembled the sketches, but did not withdraw the sketches. Many people believe a second person was involved in the bombing.

Grand juror dismissed

In October 1995, a juror was dismissed from the grand jury for questioning the prosecutors. The juror claimed that the jury was being manipulated by the prosecution, and that they were not allowed to follow leads to John Doe #2, or call witnesses to testify who claimed to have seen John Doe #2 in the company of McVeigh.

Oklahoma City television station KFOR (channel 4) interviewed twelve eyewitnesses who say they saw John Doe #2 either with McVeigh or close to his whereabouts. Two eyewitnesses spotted a total of four people (McVeigh, John Doe #2, and two others) in front of the Murrah building minutes before the bombing.

Videotape shows second person

On October 27, 1995, the Associated Press reported that a surveillance camera captured an image of a passenger -- "perhaps the long-sought John Doe #2" -- in the Ryder truck that blew up the federal building.

The AP interviewed a law enforcement source who said that the camera showed an unidentifiable and shadowy image of a person in the passenger seat about three minutes before the federal building was bombed.

The AP quoted the source as saying that many investigors believe John Doe #2 is still at large. "No one knows who he is, it's like he walked into a wall and vanished," the source said.

Witnesses Maintain Stories

Over a dozen people say they saw John Doe #2. Witnesses vary in details, but agree on certain characteristics: heavy set, dark complected, tattoos. Witnesses in Junction City and Herington, Kansas, say that they saw John Doe #2 with McVeigh when McVeigh stayed there right before the bombing. Witnesses in Oklahoma City saw him with McVeigh the morning of the bombing.

In Junction City, an employee of the Great Western Inn claimed J.D. checked in three days before the bombing and drove a Ryder truck. Three guests at the town's Dreamland Motel, where McVeigh stayed for four days, claimed they saw him outside McVeigh's room. A delivery man claimed the man was there when he brought Chinese take-out to McVeigh's room.

In Herington, a convenience store clerk remembers McVeigh and J.D. buying cigarettes. A local who went for gas remembers the same incident. The owner of a local diner remembers McVeigh, Nichols and J.D. eating there the morning before the bombing, parking a Ryder truck and a tan car with Arizona plates outside.

Conspiracy Theories

The government's silence about the John Doe #2 suspect has led many people to offer theories as to the cause of such silence. The most likely explanation is that any uncertainty on the feds' part would have been used by Timothy McVeigh's defense to help his case.

More extreme speculations are that JD2 was a government informant, or an agent provacateur who provoked the bombing to justify a crackdown on militias. While there is currently no evidence for these ideas, such possibilities are not without precedent in the U.S., and the views' prevalence says volumes about the extent of citizens' distrust of their government.

Sources: October 27, 1995, message forwarded to Libernet; October 27, 1995, Associated Press article "Surveillance tape shows shadowy passenger in Oklahoma City bomb truck," and April 15, 1996, Kansas City Star article, "The search is still on for John Doe No. 2."