The third unidentified person “cold case” in Pulaski County examined this year involves the skeletal remains of a black or mixed-race male found December 19, 1985 along the cliff line of Lake Cumberland across from Lee’s Ford Marina Resort.

Pulaski County Coroner Clyde Strunk pulled the cold case from his files in response to questions about skeletal remains of an unidentified male listed on the Unidentified Persons Database of NamUs (National Missing and Unidentified Persons System). The remains on the NamUs list are of a male, 35-45 years old, found, according to NamUs, January 1, 1986 in rural Pulaski County.

It is not immediately known if the two reports could be the same case with an error in dates, or if it could be two different unidentified people.
About the black male’s remains, a report by then-Pulaski County Deputy Coroner Denver Hislope said, “John Crabtree of Somerset was walking along the cliff line of Lake Cumberland across the lake from Lee’s Ford Dock ... on the east side of the lake. While walking under some overhanging rocks at a point about 180 feet above the waterline of Lake Cumberland, Mr. Crabtree examined a protrusion from the ground in the path around the cliff.

“Upon excavation, he discovered a skeletal bone. Further excavation revealed another skeletal bone, then a pelvic bone and then a skull.
“Mr. Crabtree notified authorities and (Deputy Coroner Hislope, Rick Muse and Jerry Walters, both Kentucky Water Patrol officers, and Gary Hayes, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, all proceeded to the scene. (They) found skeletal remains left intact in a shallow grave with about 6 to 8 inches of loose dirt covering the (bones). Also discovered near the pelvic were three spent .22 caliber cartridges. Consensus (was) the (cartridges) may have been left by sportsmen or gun enthusiasts.
“The skeleton appeared to have been placed in the grave facing a southwesterly direction with the skull butting to a solid rock cliff and the legs extending almost to the edge of the overhang.
Former Pulaski County Coroner Richard New reopened the case in 2004 and Dr. Emily A. Craig, then state forensic anthropologist, reanalyzed the skeletal remains as part of an inventory of cold case files.

A summary of Dr. Craig’s findings:

(1) These are remains of an adult black or mixed-race male.

(2) There is evidence of a gunshot wound to the skull.

(3) Estimated date of death is between 1975 and 1986.
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