published Friday, April 20th, 2012

Marion County officials investigate fire and bones in camper

Authorities in Marion County, Tenn., are awaiting DNA results from a body found Wednesday in a burned-out camper.

County Sheriff Ronnie "Bo" Burnett said the fire, which took place off Poe Road between Jasper and Haletown, apparently happened Saturday or Sunday, and the camper burned down to its frame. The remains found inside were only bones, he said.

Dispatchers said the nearest address to the scene is 175 Poe Road, but the camper was in the woods beyond the last home on the road.

"It was a very isolated area," the sheriff said. "Nobody saw the fire, but we could see where it burned the trees and the grass."

Burnett said that neighbors, who might be related to the victim, found the destroyed camper more than a mile from state Highway 27 about 2:30 p.m. CDT Wednesday. The person they believe could be the victim had not been seen since Saturday, he said.

"We're pretty certain we know who it is, but we can't release the name until we get test results back," Burnett said.

State bomb and arson and Tennessee Bureau of Investigation agents, who were at the scene to seek a cause and to determine whether there was any foul play, finished their part of the investigation around 8 p.m. CDT Wednesday, he said.

While officials don't suspect foul play, "we are doing a thorough investigation just in case something comes up later on," he said.

about Ben Benton...

Ben Benton is a news reporter at the Chattanooga Times Free Press. He covers Southeast Tennessee and previously covered North Georgia education. Ben has worked at the Times Free Press since November 2005, first covering Bledsoe and Sequatchie counties and later adding Marion, Grundy and other counties in the northern and western edges of the region to his coverage. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Tenn., a graduate of Bradley Central High School. Benton ...

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