McCreary man charged in father's slaying

A McCreary County man was charged Monday with the murder of his father, whom he had reported as missing since Aug. 7. Human remains found near the home the two shared have not been identified.

Michael Todd Keith, 24, of Marshes Siding, told sheriff's deputies on Aug. 11 his father, Donald Ray Keith, 56, went camping Aug. 7 with "an old friend" and was expected back to work Monday, McCreary sheriff's detective David Sampson said. Donald and Michael Keith, who lived together, were self-employed as carpenters and had a job to get to, Sampson said.

Rescue squads and law enforcement officers started searching for Donald Keith at his home, where they found a large burn circle in the back, Sampson said. Searchers also looked in remote areas where people might camp or fish.

There was already an outstanding warrant for Michael Keith's arrest on an unrelated misdemeanor charge of receiving stolen property. He is accused of pawning a Stearns woman's wedding and engagement rings, valued at $200, without permission on July 26. That case is thought to be unrelated to the murder charge, officials said.

Sampson arrested Michael Keith on the stolen property charge Saturday, as the search for Donald Keith continued. Burned human remains were later found under concrete in a mortar box, used for mixing concrete, behind the Keiths' home, said McCreary Coroner Daniel Ridener.

The remains apparently are of a man 45 to 65 years old, according to the state forensic anthropologist Emily Craig, who examined the site Sunday, Ridener said.

"They're incinerated remains, but they have not been identified yet," he said.

The state medical examiner's office in Frankfort will be responsible for identifying them, he said.

An affidavit attached to an arrest warrant by Sampson said Michael Keith made "inconsistent statements," such as when and where his father was last seen, when he reported his father's disappearance.

Michael Keith told officers he set the fire that burned the human remains before reporting his father's disappearance, Sampson wrote.

Police think they know Michael Keith's motive for killing his father, Commonwealth's Attorney Allen Trimble said, but they won't publicize it yet. Other physical evidence at the Keiths' home pointed to homicide, Trimble said.

Keith was charged Monday with murder, abuse of a corpse and tampering with evidence.

He is being held without bond at the McCreary County Detention Center in Whitley City. Jail officials said he was refusing media interviews. District Attorney Michele Wilson-Jones said she expected Keith to be arraigned Thursday.

Ridener said Donald Keith's disappearance and the charges against his son have come as a shock to the small community.

Donald Keith worked as a carpenter in home construction, Ridener said. He said Donald Keith, whose wife died several years ago, is known as an honest, hard-working man who attended church faithfully.