Family of missing Hamblen Co. man speaks out after human remains found in his backyard

Tennessee

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The family of a Hamblen County man declared missing is now speaking out after unidentified human remains were found in the backyard of the home he shared with his wife.

Leroy James Chamberlin was declared missing back in July. His out of state family filed a missing persons report after not seeing him in person or hearing his actual voice for over a year.

“I had contact with who I thought was my father in law up until June. Facebook messages that I thought were from him. I would be calling the house and I was told he was at a doctors appointment or he had therapy,” said Chamberlin’s daughter-in-law, Tish DiNoia-Chamberlin.

Tish, who lives in Pennsylvania, says for months, Chamberlin’s wife led the family to believe he was safe and sound in his Hamblen County home, while telling neighbors he had moved to Florida. Tish said she started to get suspicious after speaking with other family members who also said they hadn’t spoken to him.

“We just kind of started back and forth comparing notes and we started realizing that the last time someone had physically spoken to him had been almost a year,” Tish said.

Now the family is trying to learn more about what could have happened to him. The remains found in Chamberlin’s backyard have not been identified, but they still have not heard from him. Tish says they believe the remains may be his.

“I don’t think we’re fully able to process because all we have now are bits and pieces of information and we don’t have a clear picture and we don’t have a final answer. So that’s a problem, trying to grieve when you have nothing to grieve at this point. It’s more anger and confusion that it came to this.” Tish said.

Chamberlin was a father, grandfather and Vietnam war veteran. He was called Nikki by his loved ones.

“His heart was wonderful, he was a great human being and he loved his grand kids. He loved his children and he adored his family,” Tish said.

As the investigation continues, the family says they are hoping to end this horrific chapter with the truth and justice.

“He didn’t hurt anybody and whatever it is that happened in the end, he certainly didn’t deserve to be thrown out like garbage,” Tish said.

At this time, no arrests have been made. Police say they’re waiting on the autopsy report to continue the investigation.

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