Daughter of man found slain in barrel sues her father's killer for $5 million

Staff Photo by Dan Henry / The Chattanooga Times Free Press- 5/25/16. Billy Hawk appears before Judge Don Poole and the jury on Monday, June 6, 2016. Hawk was found guilty of first degree murder and sentenced to life in prison for shooting, killing, and stuffing his co-defendant in a 1981 pending cocaine distribution case, Johnny Mack Salyer, in a 55-gallon steel drum.
photo Defendant Billy Hawk, left, talks with attorney Jim Logan on the 2nd day of Hawk's murder trial in Judge Don Poole's courtroom in Hamilton County Criminal Court on Wednesday, June 1, 2016, in Chattanooga, Tenn. A grand jury indicted Hawk, 62, in September for first-degree murder in the 1981 slaying of Johnny Mack Salyer.

Shana Salyer was not quite 2 years old when her father's body was found in a 55-gallon steel drum on Chickamauga Lake in June 1981. Clad in underwear and decomposing, Johnny Mack Salyer went unidentified for days.

For Shana Salyer, though, the mystery of her father's death continued another 34 years.

According to a wrongful death lawsuit filed Monday in Hamilton County Civil Court, Shana Salyer never knew the identity of her father's alleged killer until a meeting with District Attorney General Neal Pinkston on June 14, 2015.