Winchester, Tenn., police spent most of Wednesday and Thursday exhuming human remains found in the yard of a home on Spring Hill Drive in what for now is a missing person's investigation turned homicide probe as officials work to identify the body.

The body was found during an investigation into the report of a missing person filed last week, Winchester police Chief Richard Lewis said. The investigation led to a search warrant that was served at the home around 10:30 p.m. Wednesday, he said.

The body, wrapped in a sheet or blanket, was buried in the backyard of the rancher-style brick home in an area between downtown Winchester and Decherd.

According to the Winchester Police Department's Facebook page, a missing person notification was posted Monday regarding 50-year-old James L. Wood, who was reportedly last heard from on July 29. He was thought to be driving a 1988 white Ford F150.

The chief stressed that the body has not been confirmed as that of Wood.

Lewis said Thursday the home where the body was found belongs to Wood and was purchased last July.

The body had been in the ground for "probably about five months," he said.

Meanwhile, investigators continue to work at the scene. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is assisting in the investigation, Lewis said.

Once the remains are exhumed, they will be turned over the state medical examiner for a forensic examination, Lewis said. The chief said more about the case could be released in the coming days as the investigation continues.

Anyone with any information on the case should contact the Winchester Police Department at 931-967-3840.

Contact staff writer Ben Benton at or 423-757-6569. Follow him on Twitter @BenBenton or at

Updated to reflect police chief Richard Lewis' full name.