Officials identify remains

Robert Smith

The Osage County Sheriff’s Office said Thursday the remains of a man found dead recently atop a fenceline near Wynona have been identified.

Investigator Bill Gee said the deceased has been identified as Robert Charlie Smith Sr., 56, whose last known address was in Wynona. A ranch hand found him in a pasture area that had not been checked in a while. The body had been there long enough that it was unrecognizable, and officers did not find a photo ID.

Authorities initally thought he might have been a transient. They found a bag or knapsack with him that contained no food or drink; instead, there were dolls, figurines and women’s sunglasses.

The medical examiner found no evidence of blunt-force or sharp-force trauma, and no bullet wounds, according to the sheriff’s office. That would appear to rule out any foul play. There was also no evidence of any drug use, the sheriff’s office said.

Gee said Thursday it’s possible Smith could have been a victim of a snakebite. When representatives of the sheriff’s office were at the place where the body was discovered, they encountered a rattlesnake, he said.

Gee said authorities learned Smith had been in jail in Kansas, and had been released. Smith’s remains were discovered about a quarter-mile from the closest house, and authorities thought he might have approached someone briefly before his death to ask for water.

Gee acknowledged the whole thing seemed strange.

“When you think about it, it’s just bizarre,” he said.