Crime

Autopsy finds no evidence of foul play on human remains found in rural Anderson County

A preliminary autopsy conducted by the state medical examiner's office Monday found "no obvious evidence of trauma" on the human remains found this past weekend, Anderson County Coroner Dr. Mark Tussey said.

"I do not have any evidence of foul play, but that is all preliminary," Tussey said.

Tussey said it is too early to say whether the remains are that of the man whose wallet contents were found in the vicinity of the remains. On Monday, Tussey contacted the family of that man.

"I don't have a positive ID yet but I need to exclude this individual first before I widen my net for other potential missing persons," Tussey said. "I'm in the process of getting dental records of the man whose ID was found there, for direct comparison with the remains to see is this or is this not the same person."

Two deer hunters found the contents of a man's wallet Saturday night and took them to Lawrenceburg police. A Sunday search of the remote area off Liberty Road in western Anderson County found skeletonized remains, various articles of clothing, a cellphone and eyeglasses. The remains are believed to have been there a few months.

Tussey said the remains will be transported to Knoxville, Tenn., where a forensic anthropologist with the University of Tennessee will give a closer look for any sign of trauma.

"We plan to transport the remains down there probably later this week or next week," Tussey said. "We're planning on getting a forensic anthropologist in conjunction with a pathologist to make sure we don't miss any kind of subtle signs of foul play."

UT's Anthropology Research Facility, more commonly known as "the body farm," is the first of its kind to permit systematic study of human decomposition. The center is internationally recognized for its research in forensic issues, such as determination of the time of death.

Dr. Emily Craig retired as Kentucky's forensic anthropologist in 2010, so the state contracts with UT for those services, Tussey said.

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