Coroner: Decomposing body found Tuesday that of adult male; GBI will conduct autopsy

SHEILA A. MATHEWS :::

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation Crime Lab is working to determine the identity of human remains that were discovered Tuesday afternoon in a wooded area near 1341 North Expressway.

Authorities say the decomposing body was located by a survey crew at approximately 1:15 p.m.

“I was notified about 1:30 yesterday afternoon that a body had been found by a surveying crew. I got on scene, and it was not really easy to get down there to it. There was a fence between the woods and such,” said Spalding County Coroner Michael Pryor. “There are several homeless encampments in the area there, but the body was, again, found by the surveyors.”

Pryor said he was unable to identify the remains.

“It was in an advanced state of decomposition, so we were not able to make any sort of identification,” he said.

The cause of death was also undeterminable.

The remains were transported to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Crime Lab for autopsy.

“It appears to be a male. That I could tell, but that’s pretty much it. I can’t tell age other than being an adult. The advanced state of decomp he was in, it was very hard to determine anything,” Pryor explained, adding that the man’s race also remains undetermined. “

Asked if the man’s race was known, Pryor said, “Not really at this point, again because of the decomposition. I don’t want to say he was white I don’t want to say he was black. I don’t want to say he was Hispanic because at this point, I really can’t tell. This is definitely going to be one for the forensic scientists and medical examiner to help us find out who he is and what happened to him.”

Pryor said he believes environmental factors contributed to the advanced state of decomposition.

“That area floods – it’s a watershed area – and I think the decomposition has been affected by the fact that at some point, there was water there, also, so that has clouded the amount of time he’s been there. The decomposition is due to both the natural process of decomposition and the fact there was water in there at some point. I’m not going to say he’d been submerged, but there was water around there, so that adds to the difficulty in making those determinations,” Pryor said. “It has made this one particularly hard to find anything, but like I said, we’ll leave that to the GBI, the Medical Examiner’s Office, and they’ll lead us in the right direction of where we need to go.”

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