Investigators hunt leads in ‘troubling’ mystery of corpse found in Jones County field

·2 min read

The mystery surrounding a man’s corpse found two days after Christmas in a Jones County field continues to puzzle investigators.

In the weeks since the grim discovery was made by a public works employee who happened upon the unclothed body while tending to a tractor on Dec. 27, few leads have emerged in the quest to identify the remains.

On Friday, armed with a GBI artist’s rendering of what the dead man may have looked like, investigators shared the drawing with news outlets across the state. The hope is that someone will recognize the man.

The body was found in a field near the intersection of Howard Roberts Road and a dirt road known as Cheehaw Trial. The area lies roughly equidistant between downtown Gray and the Ocmulgee River, just north of Georgia Highway 18 which links Forsyth and Gray.

Jones sheriff’s Lt. Kenny Gleaton told The Telegraph that the body was “somewhat decomposed” and may have been out in the elements for several days or even weeks.

“We can tell it’s an elderly African-American male that appears to be severely malnourished judging by the condition of the body,” Gleaton said. “The person was in very bad physical condition prior to his death.”

The man was about 5 feet, 8 inches tall and was believed to have been between 65 and 80 years old. His cause of death hasn’t been determined. No one reported missing in the area matches the dead man’s description.

His body was found with a sheet and a red-and-black plaid shirt, but he was not wearing the shirt.

“We don’t know if we’re dealing with a neglect case and ... things got out of hand and somebody freaked out,” Gleaton said. “But obviously it appears the body was dumped there, that the person passed away at some other location and then someone transported the body.”

The lieutenant noted, however, that his assessment is just theory as to what may have become of the man.

“It’s very troubling,” Gleaton added, “how this man came to be in this condition.”

He said it was “highly unlikely” the man wandered there from a nursing home because there are not any nearby.

Gleaton said the authorities think the man was “somewhat local but he could be from further away. ... Our main issue right now is identifying this poor man.”

Anyone with information was asked to call the Jones sheriff’s department at 478-986-3489.

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