Until Friday, the Hennepin County medical examiner's office knew Sean Rush only as case number 2003-0473.

For the past five years, investigators had tried to identify a 22-year-old who died Feb. 19, 2003, after jumping off a parking ramp at the Mall of America in Bloomington. The medical examiner's office issued a composite and several detailed news releases about the death. "Deceased is a white male with no tattoos. 5 foot 10 inches and 200 pounds," read one. "This person appears to be in his 20s or 30s and has a short mustache and beard and brown hair and eyes."

The last release was a year after his death, announcing his burial.

Three weeks after the mall suicide, Rush was reporting missing to St. Paul police. A connection wasn't made at the time because the timelines didn't appear to match, police said.

Recently, at the request of Rush's family, an investigator with St. Paul's missing persons unit looked into the case, said St. Paul police spokesman Tom Walsh. The investigator started to make a connection between Rush and the unidentified man who died at the Mall of America, Walsh said.

"The family gave police a DNA sample and items of Sean's," he said. "That allowed a definite connection to be made."

On Friday, the Hennepin County medical examiner announced "with somber satisfaction" that Sean Rush could be identified. More information surrounding "this difficult identification" will be released next week, the examiner's office said.

DAVID CHANEN