Raleigh Woman Puts a Face on Mysteries
Posted July 22, 1998 7:00 a.m. EDT
RALEIGH — It's a problem police in North Carolina face everyday -- they find a person's remains, but they can't identify the body. To help unravel the mystery, investigators sometimes enlist the help of a facial reconstruction artist.
To most people, a skull is simply a symbol of death, but Carol Fantelli finds life in it by recreating the dead person's face.
"I just do what the bones tell me and that's how the face gets put on." says Fantelli. "Also there is a bit of energy left in the person's remains that I feel when I'm working."
Fantelli is now working with the energy of a 300-year-old native American woman. She is re-creating history by putting a face to the legend.
Fantelli says her work is part science, part art, and part intuition.
"There is something that I still feel and it sort of guides me along. I sort of can tell by how I feel if the face is coming along right or not regardless of the measurements," says Fantelli.
It can be a tedious process. As with pieces of a puzzle, each piece of clay must fit just right.
"Relatives of the people buried here know where their loved ones are, but there are many mysteries that are never solved, because police can't always identify a person's remains. Fantelli uses her skills to help them do that," says
"Facial bones are what really build the face and tell the story," says
Fantelli says every face has a story to tell, and sometimes the result is closure to a painful mystery.
Fantelli says she has completed one facial reconstruction a year for the last 15 years. Now, with computer imaging, police do not need her help as much, but she says she's always available to help, especially when investigators are having a hard time solving a case.