published Sunday, February 9th, 2014

Body found along I-75 in Cleveland

Police in Cleveland, Tenn., are investigating the death of an Alabama man whose body was found Thursday in a wooded area after his car was discovered abandoned alongside Interstate 75.

The Tennessee Highway Patrol reported that Trooper Gray Gibson found the car, still running, Wednesday near the Paul Huff Parkway exit on I-75. Gibson tagged the car, which had Alabama registration, for future removal.

Gibson checked the car again Thursday when he noticed it hadn’t been removed from the interstate. He discovered a cellphone inside and called a previously dialed number, according to the THP. The trooper was informed by the person he reached that the phone belonged to Lester Johnson Jr., 39, of Mobile, Ala., who had been reported missing.

A highway patrol spokeswoman said Gibson and another trooper investigated a nearby wooded area and discovered Johnson’s body. The investigation was then turned over to the Cleveland Police Department.

No foul play is expected, Cleveland police spokeswoman Sgt. Evie West said, but police are investigating the cause of death, and the body has been sent for an autopsy.

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