Gordon County Sheriff Mitch Ralston says the GBI Crime Laboratory has positively identified the body discovered Sunday evening as that of Caleb Nathaniel Smith, age 21, of 4673 Old Federal Road, Chatsworth. Smith was reported missing to the Gordon County Sheriff’s Office on Jan. 16 by family members after his automobile and personal effects were found at a truck stop in Resaca. Both ground and aeriel searches of the area surrounding the truck stop by deputies on the 16th and 17th of January had yielded no results. Although the GBI autopsy revealed no indications of violence or evidence of foul play; the cause and manner of death have yet to be determined. Investigating officers will now await the pending toxicology results from the post-mortem examination.
Gordon County Sheriff Mitch Ralston reports that:At about 4:30 p.m. Sunday, deputy sheriffs were dispatched to a marshy, ‘cutover,’ woodland area in northwestern Gordon County in response to a body having been discovered. The area was between the Sugar Valley and Hill City communities. Fire Department personnel had earlier been dispatched to the same general area in reference to a brushfire.
A private citizen actually discovered the body in a poorly drained, heavily overgrown area. The body was that of a male individual, who has not been positively identified at this time (8:15 p.m). Deputies and sheriff’s detectives conducted a search of the surrounding area until darkness fell, as well as utilizing an unmanned aerial vehicle (drone).
The body was removed by the Emergency Medical Service and will be sent to the State Crime Laboratory in Decatur by the coroner to undergo a post-mortem examination. Detectives are working closely with the coroner to positively identify the body as rapidly as possible and will be aided by the GBI Division of Forensic Sciences.
Although investigating detectives cannot speculate on either the identity or the cause of death at this point, no immediate indications of violence were apparent during initial examination of the scene. More details and information will be released to the public as soon as information becomes available and is confirmed..