Family able to grieve as man's remains found, identified after 7 long years

Family able to grieve as man’s remains found, identified after 7 long years

(As originally published with video and additional photos, Mon, October 30th 2023, 4:01 PM EDT; local article here)

FORT OGLETHORPE, Ga. (TND) — A family in Georgia is getting a measure of closure after the body of a missing relative was found and identified after seven years.

David Abbott, of Fort Oglethorpe, was reported missing back on June 23, 2016.

His truck was found the next day, abandoned in a driveway in McMinn County, Tenn., about an hour away.

Law enforcement from both states conducted extensive searches but never found Abbott.

There was no news until earlier this month when a group of hunters stumbled upon partial skeletal remains in a wooded area, about 200 feet off a road. That was about three-quarters of a mile from where Abbott’s truck was found in 2016.

Sheriff Joe Guy said his office had already sent the remains to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s Forensics Center in Knoxville when they got a call from a retired Fort Oglethorpe detective, Steve Blevins, who thought it could be Abbott.

Investigators said there is no evidence of foul play; that Abbott seemed

“to have walked off into the wooded area and passed away shortly after leaving his truck.”

According to family members, the 43 year old suffered from paranoid schizophrenia, as well as numerous other health problems. At the time of his disappearance, police noted Abbott did not take his medication with him.

Family able to grieve as man's remains found, identified after 7 long years
David Abbott’s remains were found by hunters in Tennessee, Oct. 19. 2023. (Photos: Fort Oglethorpe Police Dept., McMinn Co. Sheriff’s Office)

Family members told WTVC they were relieved and glad to finally have some answers.

“We feel like he was ripped right out of our lives,” his fiancée Regina Snyder said.

Stepdaughter Mikkayla mentioned he missed out on so much.

“He didn’t get to see me be a mom,” she said. “He didn’t get to meet my little girl.”

“You get a phone call from a Tennessee number and you don’t know it,” Snyder explained. “You just hold your breath for a second.”

“Detective Blevins and our officers had communicated several times over the past six years about this case,” Sheriff Guy said. “So we are fortunate to have located Mr. Abbott, confirm his identity, and bring some peace to his family. We appreciate the assistance of the Fort Oglethorpe Police Department, but especially Detective Blevins, who even in his retirement kept working diligently on this case.”

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Information from WTVC in Chattanooga was used in this report.

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