Officers trying to identify body of woman found near Blue Hole

By Abby Morris

Star Staff

   Investigators are still trying to identify the body of a woman found near the Blue Hole Recreation area in the Stoney Creek community over the weekend.
   According to Carter County Sheriff John Henson, investigators have been able to determine that the woman was not killed in the woods where she was found, and officers are handling the case as if it is a homicide.
   The body was discovered by a Kingsport man and his two sons who had been riding dirt bikes in the area, according to reports. As the three were preparing to leave, they pulled off of the road to "scout a fishing spot in the stream flowing along Panhandle Road," the report states. At that time, one of the sons spotted the body in the stream and the father notified police.
   "In my opinion, the body had washed down stream in the heavy rains we had a couple of weeks ago," said Carter County Sheriff John Henson. "I estimate the body had been there (in the forest) well over a month. We do know that she was hauled out there and dumped and that shows something is wrong,"
   Henson said if the woman died from natural causes, someone wouldn't have dumped the body. Also, there are no open wounds on the body that would indicate a gunshot or a stabbing, and there are no trauma wounds to the head.
   An autopsy ordered on the woman was slated to begin yesterday. Henson said he hopes it will not only aid investigators in identifying the woman via medical or dental records or fingerprints, but that it will also help them determine a cause of death.
   Right now his department is working to positively identify the woman. "Our main goal right now is to find out what killed this lady and where she's from. Then we'll work on who and how and why," he said.
   Henson believes the woman is from the Tri-Cities or Southwest Virginia areas but said that is just his personal feeling on the matter.
   Members of the public have been aiding investigators on the case by phoning in tips and possible identifications. "We've had several calls. We've even had a call from as far away as California," Henson said. "Some of them have been pretty close to matching the description of this lady or the clothes she was wearing, but, so far, none of them have turned up to definitely identify her."
   In addition to working this case, investigators are also looking into the case of Roberta Woods, another woman who was reported missing in Washington County and was last seen in Carter County. According to Henson, it has been completely ruled out that the body found near the Blue Hole was that of Woods. "There's no resemblance whatsoever," he said.
   Anyone who has any information on either of these two cases is asked to contact the Carter County Sheriff's Department at 542-1845. "Or they can call me personally at 725-3366," Henson said.