Kingsport PD identify remains found in Holston River 17 years ago as missing West Virginia man


Source: Kingsport PD

KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL)- Officials with the Kingsport Police Department announced they’ve positively identified remains found in the Holston River 17 years ago.

It was a case that started in August 2003, when the unidentified remains were found in the Holston River near Riverfront Park, according to Kingsport Police.

In June 2020, Kingsport Police detectives found out someone was researching missing persons cases as a hobby and, “had noticed some striking similarities between this unidentified remains cold case and a missing person cold case reported to the Charleston, West Virginia Police Department after a man had gone missing in that jurisdiction on August 4, 2003.”

A release issued Thursday said detectives from Kingsport were able to find and interview a relative of the missing person from Charleston, West Virginia and collect a DNA sample.

It was through that DNA sample that authorities were finally able to identify the remains found in 2003 as Jerry D. Holbert, 64, of Charleston, West Virginia.

In the release police said in part, “. At the time of his unexplained disappearance, Mr. Holbert was 64 years of age and reportedly suffered from dementia. He is believed to have left his residence, walking toward the bus station, with plans to visit a relative in Ohio. When he didn’t arrive at his intended destination, he was reported missing.”

Based on the investigation, and an autopsy, foul play was not suspected, according to police.

“Mr. Holbert’s next of kin have been notified. It is our hope that this helps bring some closure to his family, friends, and loved ones,” police stated in a release.

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