Crime

Photo released of dead man found on Russell Cave Road

Lexington police released a touched-up photo of the man whose burning body was found Sunday off Russell Cave Road.
Lexington police released a touched-up photo of the man whose burning body was found Sunday off Russell Cave Road.

Hoping to pin down leads in a homicide investigation, the Lexington Division of Police released a composite photo of a man whose body was found burning Sunday morning in a driveway on Russell Cave Road.

Investigators initially said the body was burned so badly that investigators could not tell the victim's race or approximate age. They took a picture of the man's face and touched it up to reflect what he might have looked like before his death, Lexington police spokeswoman Sherelle Roberts said. The image was created by the U.S. Department of Justice's National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, or NamUs, which includes an online catalog of unidentified bodies that is used by investigators.

The man found on Russell Cave on Sunday morning is described as a black male, 35 to 60 years old. He was about 5-foot-7 and 180 pounds.

According to NamUs, he had a scar across his chin, curly hair and facial stubble. He was wearing shorts, a shirt with a matching light-colored plaid pattern, white ankle socks and K-Swiss tennis shoes.

Roberts said Lexington police and fire inspectors were sent to the 2000 block of Russell Cave Road — about two miles from Russell Cave Elementary School — at 7:42 a.m. Sunday, after a resident found the body in his front yard when he went out to pick up his morning newspaper.

Roberts said the body was on fire when the caller found it.

Police reports identified the caller as Jack Edward Burch, 65. Burch, reached by telephone Monday, declined to comment.

Burch is executive director of the Community Action Council for Fayette, Bourbon, Harrison and Nicholas counties, an advocacy group aimed at reducing poverty.

Roberts said police had not received any missing-person reports Monday morning that seemed to relate to the case.

Bob Johnson, the Herald-Leader carrier who delivers papers on Russell Cave Road, said he did not see anything out of the ordinary Sunday. He was delivering papers in the area about 5:15 a.m.

"On Sunday, it was about as routine as it could be," he said.

Coroner Gary Ginn would not say whether he thought the man died before or after being set on fire. The coroner's office had not released a preliminary cause of death Monday afternoon.

Anyone with information about the man's identity or death is asked to call police at (859) 258-3600, the Robbery-Homicide Unit at (859) 258-3700 or Bluegrass Crime Stoppers at (859) 253-2020.

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