Authorities Puzzled By Uprooted Casket, Remains

PIKEVILLE, Ky. (AP) - The casket and remains of a young woman who was buried decades ago was found dumped in a remote wooded area in eastern Kentucky, leaving her identity and possible motives a mystery, state police said Thursday.

Investigators have been trying to identify the woman and a suspect since Tuesday afternoon, when a Pike County man reported finding a vault, the casket and the remains scattered on his property in Kimper, a small community about 20 miles east of Pikeville.

Detective Kevin Newsome said someone likely dumped the uprooted vault, carrying the casket and remains, from a quiet road along the wooded hillside.

"It was intentionally transported to this area," Newsome said. "Whoever transported it purposefully threw it over the hillside."

He said that the model of the casket has not been manufactured since the 1940s, leading investigators to believe the body is several decades old.

Authorities have not received any reports of tampered plots or grave robberies, and there are no public cemeteries in Kimper.

"It's probably from a secluded cemetery or grave site that isn't visited frequently, and that's probably why it hasn't been reported," Newsome said.

Newsome said it's unlikely the crime was a Halloween prank.

"If it had been a prank, it would've been in a more public area," he said. "But due to the time of year, we can't rule that out."

Pike County will observe Halloween on Thursday.

Anyone with information should call the State Police post in Pikeville at 606-433-7711.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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