Investigators hope new clues will help lead to positive identification of two of three bodies discovered in December in a Candler County scrap yard.
The three sets of human remains had been stored in a shed at a local funeral home for over 25 years, unclaimed by relatives and never buried.
Workers hired by Hodges Funeral Home in Metter to dismantle a shed on the property took a casket and two metal containers to Scrap Partners to sell for the metal. One of the containers fell open as it was being offloaded, exposing a skull and rib bones, according to Georgia Bureau of Investigation reports.
After an initial investigation, Percy Hodges, 70, owner of Hodges Funeral Home was charged with throwing away or abandoning dead bodies.
Early in the investigation, Hodges gave GBI agents two names — Leroy Dixon and Theresa McClarin. According to the funeral home records, Dixon was born in June 1943 and died in March of 1982.
Funeral home records also show McClarin was born in July,1915.
As a result of the investigation, one man has been identified as Eric Collins, but the identities of the two other bodies officially remain unknown, said John Durden, Statesboro Region 5 GBI Special Agent-in-Charge.
Collins, born Sept. 15, 1905 in Dothan, Alabama, died Aug, 22, 1983. A death certificate from Hodges Funeral Home, located by GBI agents, states Collins was buried in a Candler County cemetery, but that is not the case, he said. GBI agents are in the process of locating Collins’ family.
But the mystery remains concerning the other two bodies.
“The GBI Crime lab has not confirmed the race and gender of the two remaining bodies,” Durden said.
“There is information provided by the funeral home containing details on potential names, race, and gender of the unidentified remains, but the information has not been substantiated”
One of the two remaining people “appears to be female with no teeth. A colostomy bag with no other identifying information was also found with the body,” he said, “A hip implant was discovered.” The prosthetic hip is a “Zimmer Biomet, hip prosthesis, 28mm. Serial # LNG50542800,” he said.
The other yet-unidentified person is even more of a puzzle. This person may have Bulloch County relatives and may have attended a local high school.
“Information from the crime lab indicates that the decedent has mixed characteristics for male and female and one set of dentures with a single gold tooth on the upper denture with no other identifying numbers on dentures, Durden said.
“A Southeast Bulloch High School class ring was located, graduating class of 1963. The ring appears to be a man’s style ring. The ring has the initials ‘D.M.’ inscribed. “
Durden said the investigation continues, and hopes someone will be able to help positively identify the remains.
Anyone with information regarding Leroy Dixon and Theresa McClarin, or with any other information regarding the unidentified remains, is asked to contact the GBI Statesboro office at 912-871-1121.
Herald reporter Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.