A Paris man has been charged with tampering with evidence and abuse of a corpse after the body of a missing Lexington woman was found in the crawl space of a duplex in Bourbon County.
A state trooper found the body of Tina Johnson, 53, who had been reported missing from Fayette County on Dec. 3.
Michael Hutsell, 45, was booked into the Bourbon County regional jail early Tuesday, according to the jail website. State police received a call from the Paris Police Department about a strange odor coming from the duplex on High Street at 11:50 p.m. Monday, according to Kentucky State Police. The Paris police had gone to the home because the door was open.
Trooper Patrick Davis went to the home and obtained consent from the owner to search the duplex, state police said. Trooper David Jones said Hutsell lived in the duplex.
The cause of death was not immediately available. Bourbon County Coroner Dee Gee Roe has arranged for an autopsy.
State police said Hutsell could face additional charges, and the investigation continues.
Johnson’s son, Kenny Johnson, said the house where his mother’s body was found was about two blocks from where Tina Johnson’s car was found on the morning of Dec. 3. Her purse was inside the vehicle, but not her keys, he said in an earlier interview.
“From what we understand, she didn’t really know the fellow at all,” he said of Hutsell.
He said state police had told the family that Hutsell “was one of the last persons she was seen with,” but he did not know any other details.
Johnson’s family and friends put up signs around Paris and searched for her after she went missing. State police and divers from the Lexington fire department searched Stoner Creek outside Paris, as well as other locations.
Kenny Johnson said his mother was a happy, free-spirited woman who had “many, many people who loved and cared for her.”
“She was amazing,” he said. “A family person. Loved her grandchildren. Loved her children. She was a good mother and raised three good kids and a grandbaby.”
He said she was married for 33 years to her husband, Kenneth Johnson.