ARLEY—Investigation is ongoing to determine if a man found badly decomposed in a wooded area Saturday, Aug. 13, is the same person allegedly seen fleeing into a wooded area two weeks before.
Winston County coroner Larry Gilliland was called to a wooded area off Highway 41 around 2 p.m. Authorities had to travel about a half mile into the woods before they reached the man’s body, which was found lying face down in a small ditch or ravine area, noted Gilliland.
Authorities used all terrain vehicles to a certain point where the terrain was too difficult for riding. “We went as far as we could. Then we had to walk in and walk out,” Gilliland said.
He believed the body had been in the wooded area “several weeks” and was in the advanced stages of decomposition.
The body was placed into a bag and transported by hands from the wooded area to the coroner’s vehicle, which transported it to Nichols Funeral Home. The body was then transferred to the Alabama Department of Forensic Science to determine the cause of death as well as the identification of the subject.
There were no bluffs or rocks in the area where the body was found. Tommy Moore, chief investigator with Winston/Marion county district attorney’s office, noted the body did not show any signs of injury.
Investigators are checking to see if the man found dead in the woods was the same person as was declared missing a week before on Saturday, Aug. 6.
On Aug. 6, the man’s mother, Patricia A. Marian of Dora, came to the Arley police department and filed a missing person’ report Jeremy Barker, 40.
On Saturday, Aug. 13, Brown had several cadaver dog teams from Sartec in Huntsville respond. Cadaver dogs are trained to react to the scent of human decomposition, authorities said.
Twelve dog teams, containing one dog per team, searched 60 acres of woods around the area where Barker was last seen from 6 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
“We didn’t find anything at that time in that area,” said Brown. The dog teams were then sent home, due to the dogs only able to search for so many hours in the heat of the day. After the dog teams left, a man’s body was found on a hunting trail or old logging road in a wooded area about 2 ½ miles from where the search had taken place, according to investigators.
Results from forensics will give investigators more indication as to possibly how the man died and if any foul play should be suspected behind the man’s death.
“I am not saying they are unrelated,” said Brown. “We’re just saying we don’t know if it’s (the missing man) or not yet.”
Agencies involved in the investigation include Arley Police, Winston County Sheriff’s Office, Winston/Marion District Attorney’s Office and Winston County Coroner’s Office.