Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

October 31, 2013

Efforts to identify remains continue

By Gary Nelson
Senior staffwriter

CROSSVILLE — Crossville Police continue to search for clues that may lead to identifying the skeletal human remains that were discovered by Boy Scouts from Morristown who were camping at the Cumberland Mountain State Park Oct. 19.


The Boy Scout troop from Morristown consisted of youths ages 12 to 16 who had come to the state park for a weekend camping trip. Two members of the scouts were playing in the woods about 60 to 75 yards from the hiking trail when they made the discovery.


Crossville Police Investigator Maj. Mark Rosser said the remains appeared to have been scattered by animals and looked to have been at the scene for at least a year or more. Most were found under a small bluff ledge that was sheltered by bushes.


After the news of the remains was broadcast and reported in the Crossville Chronicle, Rosser said a woman came forward and gave him information and a statement about a homeless man she knew briefly in 2010.


“Up to this point, it’s the most promising lead we have,” Rosser said.


Lisa Brewer of Crossville said that she helped and befriended a homeless man who had been hanging around the 317 Hwy. 127 exit of Interstate 40 in February 2010.


“His name was David. I talked with him a few times and spent about four hours or more with him one day,” Brewer said.


Brewer said she offered the man a meal.


“I took him home and washed his clothes and cooked a really nice meal with a pot roast. He showered and shaved,” Brewer said.


Brewer says she helps homeless people who are genuinely in need from time to time.


“I’ve needed help before and I know what it’s like to need help,” she said.
Brewer said that she gave David a bag full of food in small cans, a water jug, batteries, flashlight and several items to help him.


“He told me he was going to try and find another place to camp because someone had stolen his tent that he was keeping underneath the bridge on (Hwy. 127) Main St. I gave him enough supplies to probably last him about three weeks or more,” Brewer said.


She said she never found out David’s last name, but he had a son in Roanoke, VA, and used her pre-paid cellphone to call and talk to him.


“I don’t have that phone anymore and no way of finding it or the number,” she said.


Brewer said David was a kind person, who played songs on a harmonica for her children while he was visiting with them.


“He said he had been in Crossville for about a year and was waiting to get on disability and would work odd jobs from time to time for money,” Brewer said.


She described David as a medium built man in his late 50s around five foot eight with brownish grey hair.


After she fed the man, washed his clothes and gave him several supplies, she said she took him back near the exit on Main St. and didn’t see him anymore afterward.


“That was in February of 2010. I thought he may have left from the area,” she said.


After Brewer heard of the skeletal remains being discovered she thought it might be David and contacted the police.


“She was able to describe several of the items that were discovered with the remains, including the canteen, water jug and bag. She was able to describe some of the items and details that were not released,” Rosser said.


Rosser said he has contacted police officials in Roanoke, VA, and has asked them to check for missing persons reports.


As of Tuesday at press time, no other information has been released and no other developments have happened in the case.


The skeletal remains were transported to the TBI forensic lab in Nashville and the investigation continues. Rosser said he does not believe foul play was involved.


“Right now, we are just using all the resources we can to try and identify this person,” Rosser said.


Brewer said she hopes they are able to identify the remains so the family can be notified.
If you have any information that could be helpful in identifying the victim, call the Crossville Police at 484-7231.