MADISONVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The remains of a man missing for more than three years have been identified after a hunter discovered them in late October, according to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.
Luke Michael “Gator” Butler, 36, was last seen in September 2019. He was reported missing Oct. 7, 2019. His family told Madisonville Police investigators at the time that it wasn’t like him to go so long without checking in with someone.
Now, Butler’s death has been confirmed and an investigation surrounding the disappearance and death is active.
According to Monroe County Sheriff Tommy Jones, Butler’s remains were positively identified by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation after being sent for testing. A hunter found the remains Oct. 31 in what Jones described as “a rural, wooded area” just outside of the City of Madisonville.
MCSO Criminal Investigation Unit collected the remains and sent them to the Knox County Regional Forensic Center for analysis. MCSO was notified by the TBI on Tuesday that the remains were identified as Butler’s through DNA testing.
The investigation into Butler’s disappearance and death is ongoing and Jones stated that if anyone has information regarding Butler, they are encouraged to contact TBI or MCSO. Jones also said that MCSO sends its condolences to the family and friends of Butler.
Earlier this month, MCSO confirmed that the remains of a missing Madisonville woman, 24-year-old Chelsie Walker, had been found in a remote location. She had been reported missing on Oct. 31.
Authorities say nearly 400 people go missing in Tennessee each year. That’s five people for every 100,000. Check this list of people missing from East Tennessee to see if you can help locate someone.