By Gary Nelson
The human skeletal remains that were discovered Oct. 19 by Boy Scouts camping in a remote area of Cumberland Mountain State Park have been identified as a man from Florida.
Major Mark Rosser of the Crossville Police Department said a battery operated organizer that was retrieved at the scene with the remains supplied vital information — a first name and address — which led local detectives to Crestview, FL.
Rosser contacted police in Crestview and discovered a man from the address listed in the electronic organizer had been missing for about seven years.
Rosser requested a DNA test be performed on a son of the missing person for comparison. The DNA sample was sent to the Center for Forensic Medicine in Nashville and a 99.9 percent match was returned.
“Given this information, we have concluded that the remains found in the Cumberland Mountain State park were that of Dalburn Franklin from Crestview, FL,” Rosser said.
Rosser said in October when the discovery was made, he and Crossville Police Det. J.C. Hancock and Det. Donald Hammons worked at the scene for several hours before getting more manpower and equipment. After doing so, they later returned to finish processing the scene.
“The scene was slowly cleared away of heavy vegetation and the remains and other items were carefully removed,” Rosser said.
The items were sent to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) crime lab and the Center for Forensic Medicine in Nashville.
“The remains were also examined by a forensic anthropologist and he determined the remains most likely that of a middle-aged white male that had a bad break to his left arm maybe as a child,” Rosser said.
Rosser explained the small battery operated personal organizer was at the TBI lab and still hadn't been examined.
"J.C. (Hancock) was going to the lab and I had him get that (organizer) back from them. I cleaned it up from being exposed to the weather for so long and with a $5 investment of new batteries installed, it began to work again," he said.
Rosser said they were unsure at first if the personal organizer belonged to the victim, or if the information was even his.
The Crestview Police Department was contacted and Rosser asked them to go to the address and see if anyone was missing.
Rosser said Dalburn Franklin, a white male, born in 1966, had left from there seven years ago to go to Tennessee and no one had seen him in several years. He also had broken his arm as a child, Rosser said.
He said he spoke with several members of the missing man's family after the results of the DNA test were reported and the remains were identified.
"It gives them some closure after being unsure about what may have happened to him for so long ... Sometimes not knowing is harder than knowing. The family will be able to accept remains if they want to, or the state will take care of them," Rosser said.
Rosser also said the cause of Franklin's death remains undetermined.
"There are still some things we have working and looked at by the crime lab. We may never know, but at this point we haven't ruled anything out," Rosser said.
He said the case is still under investigation.