Lt. Col. Ron Hunton, field operations commander for the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office, said Monday that because of the decomposed, skeletal state of the body, investigators did not have enough information to identify the remains found off South Cherokee Lane at about 6 p.m. Saturday by a Kennesaw State University biology student.
The Sheriff’s Office said in a news release Sunday that the body is believed to be that of a man. He was wearing blue jeans with burgundy shorts underneath and size 13 Adidas tennis shoes.
Hunton said the Sheriff’s Office has searched its active missing persons cases and asked neighboring law enforcement agencies to do the same, but “on the surface,” this description does not match up with any open investigations.
But that doesn’t mean the person isn’t missing from somewhere in the Cherokee County or metro Atlanta area.
“The information we have so far is just really sketchy,” Hunton said. “There’s not a whole lot to go on for these agencies. But hopefully within the next couple of days we’re going to have better information.”
Hunton said the body’s definite sex, age, race, height, weight and cause of death are all yet to be determined, but investigators expect the autopsy, which is under way by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, to fill in these gaps. Medical examiners also will analyze the corpse’s teeth to attempt to gain more information, Hunton said.
Hunton said the Sheriff’s Office is also counting on the autopsy to determine when the person died, though preliminary indications are that the body had not been at its location in the woods for long.
“I don’t think it’s been (there) a great length of time,” Hunton said. “It’s nothing like years, or even months.”
In addition to the investigators, others like Jennifer Allgood, the owner of the property where the body was found, are holding out hope for answers in the case.
Allgood said Monday that she and her husband have lived in their newly constructed home off South Cherokee Lane for only about three weeks.
In that time, Allgood said the two haven’t seen or heard anything suspicious, even near the spot where the body was found, which is about 30 yards from their house.
“I’m just shocked that no one saw it,” Allgood said. “We can see it from the house. That’s not something you want to hear after your house has been built three weeks.”
Allgood said she has heard theories from neighbors that the body may be that of a homeless or transient person, which are rumored to occasionally pass through the neighborhood.
But Hunton said so far investigators have no reason to believe those theories.
“There’s nothing at the scene that would immediately indicate that this person has been living there in that area,” he said.
Hunton said if the GBI crime lab isn’t able to identify the body, the Sheriff’s Office plans to release more information to the public and hope someone comes forward to help.
“Usually, that’s one of the best ways to do it, particularly if it’s someone who’s local,” he said.