OWENSBORO, Ky. (AP) - Authorities have identified the man whose nude body was found mutilated - with his hands and feet severed - nearly 17 years ago by hunters in western Kentucky.
The results of DNA testing confirmed that the body was that Scott Michael Morris, who was last seen leaving a convenience store in Indianapolis in 1978 when he was only 14.
Morris' family at the time told police that the boy frequently ran away from home but usually returned. His grandmother reported him missing, but it was not until 1989 that the family filed a formal missing persons report.
"In 1989 some friends of the family got a call (from Morris) saying he was alive but wouldn't say where he was," Kentucky State Police Detective Juan Moorman said Tuesday. "He said he was working for a carnival."
Police said it was unclear whether his family had contact with him in those intervening years.
Known for years by investigators as the "handless, footless man," the body was found with a farmer's tan in a brush pile by two rabbit hunters in January 1990. He had been shot six times in his head and chest and appeared to have been beaten with a blunt instrument before being left in eastern Daviess County. He also was missing all his teeth.
"Whoever did this went to great lengths to obscure the identity of the body," said Trooper Joe Woo, a spokesman for the Kentucky State Police post in Henderson.
The body was identified after Indianapolis police contacted Kentucky investigators to share a cold case. A description of the missing boy matched the body, and tests on DNA samples from Morris' relatives confirmed his identity, police said.
Police said the family has provided information that has led investigators to several persons of interest. But because the killing may have occurred in Indiana or Kentucky, federal authorities may become involved.
"Now we are investigating individuals close to him at the time of his death," Woo said. "We don't know what ties he has to Daviess County and why he ended up here."
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)