An autopsy conducted on remains of a white male found Thursday evening in woods near the U.S. 421 West corridor in Wilkesboro revealed no indication that he was assaulted or any other sign of foul play, said Wilkesboro Police Chief Craig Garris.
The autopsy on the nearly skeletal remains was conducted at the Regional Autopsy Center at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, part of the N.C. Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.
Nothing on the man’s clothing indicated foul play either, said Garris, adding that the man was of average height and appeared to have been dead for several months.
The chief said investigators have leads to follow up on this week as they continue trying to determine the identity of the remains. He said anyone with information relevant to the investigation is asked to call the Wilkesboro Police Department at 336-667-7277.
The body was clothed in a green jacket, khaki-colored pants, brown cross-trainer-type boots and a burgundy-colored toboggan with a yellow stripe around it, said Garris.
The remains were found in what appeared to be a campsite and/or gathering place with bottles and other debris, he said. No identifying information like a wallet with cards was found.
Wilkesboro Officers P.M. Brown and Matthew Osborne found the body Thursday evening in woods with heavy undergrowth northwest of the Big Lots store and south and west of Winkler Mill Road while responding to a call about a tent in that area near Mountain View Apartments.
Brown said the call was made at 7:21 Thursday by a man at Mountain View Apartments who also stated that an individual was staying in woods between the apartments and the Lowes Foods supermarket. Lowes is adjacent to Big Lot and both of those businesses front U.S. 421 West.
There were no hands or head with the body when officers first discovered it, but on Friday investigators found the head about 20 feet from the remains and later a hand nearby. He said these were in the same state of decomposition as the rest of the body.
Garris said there is no reason to believe that the separation of the head and hands from the rest of the body resulted from anything other than scavenging animals.
Investigators remained on the scene overnight and were there until Friday afternoon looking for evidence. The State Bureau of Investigation is assisting at the request of the Wilkesboro Police Department.