January 16, 2007

Hunters Find Body in Meriwether County: Remains Found in Woods, Sent to Lab to Be Identified

By Harry Franklin, Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, Ga.

Jan. 16--The remains of a body discovered Saturday morning by hunters in Meriwether County's Harris City community have been sent to the GBI Crime Laboratory in Decatur to try to determine identity, race, sex, age and cause and time of death.

Meriwether County sheriff's officers were dispatched to a wooded area off Bob White Road, about two miles from Georgia Highway 18, around 11 a.m. after being notified of the discovery.

"We're trying to determine the identity of this person, where the person is from and how the person got here," Sheriff Steve Whitlock said Monday. "We're talking with nearby residents, trying to develop leads that could help us with the investigation. We're hopeful the crime lab can identify this person and determine the cause of death."

The property is designated for hunting. Bob White is a rural dirt road with few homes on it. Harris City is an unincorporated area between Greenville and Warm Springs, about four miles south of Greenville.

Authorities brought in a cadaver dog after learning the skeleton was scattered and apparently had been attacked and dragged by scavengers. They found bones over a 20-yard area.

Col. Chuck Smith with the sheriff's department would not speculate on how long the body had been there. He said bones were scattered on top of the ground. The skull was about 20 yards from the shoulders, which were still attached to both arms, with some muscle and other tissue remaining, he said.

Investigators found no sign of clothing or shoes in the vicinity. With the aid of the dog, they worked the site until about 6:30 p.m. to make sure they recovered all of the remains, Smith said. The site was 250-300 yards off Ogletree Road.

Although a man has been missing from the Pine Mountain area for some time, Smith said authorities don't believe the remains are his, because they found natural teeth and the missing man wore dentures.

Smith said there were no obvious signs of wounds to the head.

The GBI, Georgia Department of Natural Resources and Meriwether County coroner's office are assisting the sheriff's department in the case.

Anyone with information about the case or who wants to report a missing person who could have been in that area should call the Meriwether County Sheriff's Office, Criminal Investigation Division, at 706-672-4489.

Contact Harry Franklin at 706-571-8521 or [email protected] [mailto:[email protected]]


Copyright (c) 2007, Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, Ga.

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