Medical examiner trying to ID body

Robert Smith rsmith@pawhuskajournalcapital.com

A ranch hand found a human body on a fence line in a pasture northwest of Wynona a little over a week ago and notified the Osage County Sheriff’s Office, Investigator Bill Gee said. The state medical examiner’s office estimated the body had been there more than a month, Gee said.

“The cause of death is unknown at this time, officially,” Gee said in an interview July 19. He explained the medical examiner’s office found no evidence of sharp-force or blunt-force trauma, no bullet wounds and no evidence of drug use.

“We did not find a picture ID,” Gee said, and the remains were deteriorated beyond recognition.

The medical examiner’s office and the Osage County Sheriff’s Office had been unable to make an identification of the body, Gee said. The remains were found on a pasture fence line, where it appeared the deceased might have become tangled up while trying to cross two fences that stand very close together, he said.

It looked like the person’s trousers might have been torn by barbed wire, Gee said. The location where the body was found was about a quarter-mile from the nearest house, he said.

In its attempt to determine an identity for the deceased, the Sheriff’s Office backtracked to a record of a call received in mid-May about a suspicious person asking for water in the area where the body was found, Gee said. A deputy had been dispatched in response to that call, but wasn’t able to find anyone.

“We think he’s possibly transient,” Gee said, commenting that the deceased had a knapsack or bag, but there were no food or drink items in the bag, only items such as dolls, figurines and women’s sunglasses.

In a follow-up interview Tuesday, Gee said the medical examiner’s office was still trying to identify the body, but had so far been unsuccessful. An attempt to pull fingerprints for comparison was unsuccessful because of advanced decomposition, he said.

An attempt was being made to use medical records relating to dental work and surgery to try to achieve an identification, Gee said.