Cumberland County remains possibly identified as Va homeless man

Cumberland County remains possibly identified as Virginia homeless man

A woman came forward saying she recognized some of the items in a backpack found near the remains. A woman came forward saying she recognized some of the items in a backpack found near the remains.

6 News Reporter

CROSSVILLE (WATE) – Crossville police say remains found at Cumberland County Mountain State Park last weekend by a group of Boy Scouts may have been identified as those of a homeless man from Roanoke, Virginia.

We aired video of many items that were discovered along with the body. That includes a backpack that contained a number of items including a harmonica, a canteen and batteries that expired in 2010.

Detectives got tips from all over the country about who the remains could belong to. The most promising came from a Crossville woman who says she often helps homeless people. She believes this man was one of them.

Lisa Brewer says she noticed the man panhandling at an intersection for a few days, back in February 2010.

"One day I just pulled up and asked him his circumstances. He said he was homeless and lived under the bridge," Brewer said.

Lisa took the man named David home. She gave him a warm meal, let him take a hot shower, and washed his clothes.

"He said he was from Roanoke, Virginia and he called his son," Brewer explained.

After staying for a few hours, the man left. That's the last time Brewer saw him.

Flash forward to this week when human remains were found at the state park. She heard the man was possibly homeless, so she called Crossville Police.

"I said I gave him a blue water jug with a white lid on it. And his backpack was red and blue and had a cross painted on it. A yellow flashlight about the size of my hand. He played my oldest a song with his harmonica," she said, describing some of the items 6 News aired when the original story ran. Police say she also identified items found, that were not released to the media.

Investigators believe it's a solid lead.

"Well right now I've talked to investigators with Roanoke Police Department. They're going to check their missing person records," said Major Mark Rosser, with Crossville Police.

With a possible first name and a city to focus on, officials could be closer to figuring out who this man is.

"Sad to say but he's in a better place now. He deserved to have a proper burial. He deserves to have his family members know," Lisa said.

Police also have new information about this man from forensic experts. He may have been in his late 50's, which is what Lisa said.

They also found out he'd broken his left arm, above the elbow, sometime in his life.

Officials still do not know how the man died, but do not believe foul play is involved.

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