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NEW INFO: Nathan Barker's Death Ruled Accidental

By: WSAZ News Staff Email
By: WSAZ News Staff Email

UPDATE 4/18/13 @ 5:50 p.m.
CARTER COUNTY, Ky. (WSAZ) -- Nearly two years after a young man went missing, family members now know how Nathan Barker died.

21-year-old Nathan Barker went missing on July 12, 2011.

Investigators with the Carter County Sheriff Department caught a break on October 14, 2012 when hikers found Barker's body near Grayson Lake.

Since that day, family members and investigators have been asking the question -- how did Barker die?

According to a press release from Kentucky State Police, Barker's death was the result of an accidental fall from a cliff.

When Barker's body was found, investigators also recovered his cell phone. After technicians repaired the phone, several text messages were discovered that Barker had attempted to send. According to the release, the text messages described the car accident and him walking in a wooded area near the accident scene to try to find help. Barker further described the area and the fact that he was unfamiliar with the location.

According to the release, Barker's body was found in the location he had described in those text messages.

The autopsy confirmed that Barker's injuries were indicative of a fall from a cliff.

According to the release, the autopsy also states that there was no sign of foul play.



UPDATE 10/18/12 @ 5:50 p.m.
CARTER COUNTY, Ky. (WSAZ) -- A missing person case is solved.
Hikers recently found the remains of a young man who went missing, under mysterious circumstances, 15 months ago.

But now, Nathan Barker’s grieving family's need for answers and justice has grown even more intense.

Now that his body is recovered, his family feels some one out there is really starting to squirm -- because somebody knows something.

On Thursday, sheriff's deputies were keeping a watchful protective eye on the Barker family at their rural Carter County home.

After the 20-year-old’s remains were discovered Sunday night near Grayson Lake -- his family's public plea is now more of a demand.

“This is a very small town," said Kelly Barker. "Somebody knows something along the line; they just need to come forward.”

Kentucky State Police say it was not just the wallet with identification and more found nearby in the woods that prompted a positive identification.

”Some other evidence located at the scene helped us to confirm that the remain were those of Nathan Barker," said Trooper Michael Murriell.

He would not say what that evidence was.

Going back to Tuesday July 12, 2011 -- Barker’s maroon Cadillac was found crashed into a guard rail on Route 7, also near Grayson Lake.

Investigators then said there was front end and windshield damage -- but no traces of blood or injury. They said both air bags were deployed, and there were possibly two people in the car

So, how did Barker's body travel two miles away? Police say they can't go on theory and opinion of other people. They have to look at the evidence, and by investigation, to make the determination on what happened.

For Nathan Barker's family, finding out what happened calls for help.

“We need answers; anybody with any tips anything no matter how big or small -- they need to contact KSP or the Carter County Sheriff," Kelly said. "We do need to find out what happened and justice needs to be served.”

Police say with the state medical examiners work on the remains and DNA testing, it may take three months to determine the cause and manner of Nathan Barker's death.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 10/17/12 @ 10:25 p.m.
CARTER COUNTY, Ky. (WSAZ) -- Human remains found this past Sunday at Grayson Lake have been identified as Nathan Barker, a 21-year-old Olive Hill man who has been missing since July 2011, Kentucky State Police say.

That determination is based upon the initial results from the medical examiner’s office and evidence recovered, according to a KSP news release.

At this time, the cause and manner of death are still pending.

Positive identification is also pending upon completion of DNA testing.

The investigation is ongoing and additional details will be released as they become available.

Barker's car was found smashed near Grayson Lake. There was no sign of Barker.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 10/16/12 @ 3 p.m.
CARTER COUNTY, Ky. (WSAZ) – Investigators are still waiting on a positive identification of human remains found at Grayson Lake in Carter County.

KSP Trooper Michael Murriell tells WSAZ.com the remains were found Sunday evening in a secluded area off Clifty Creek, near Route 7 at the Carter/Elliott Line.

Murriell says the remains were found by hikers and that investigators had to get to the area using a boat.

On Tuesday, Murriell said that a wallet, which contained identification and other credentials, was found at the site.

The badly decomposed remains are still at the Kentucky Medical Examiners Office. Investigators aren’t saying if the body is male or female.

Some neighbors are wondering if the remains could be that of 20-year-old Nathan Barker who went missing July of 2011.

Barker's car was found smashed near Grayson Lake. There was no sign of Barker.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 10/15/12 @ 10 p.m.
CARTER COUNTY, Ky. (WSAZ) -- Human remains were found at Grayson Lake in Carter County over the weekend and now Kentucky State Police are waiting on them to be identified.

Michael Murriell with KSP tells WSAZ.com the remains were found Sunday evening at Grayson Lake in a secluded area off Clifty Creek, near Route 7 at the Carter/Elliott Line.

Murriell says the remains were found by hikers and that investigators had to get to the area by using a boat.

Some neighbors are now wondering whether the remains could be that of Nathan Barker, a 20-year old from Carter County who went missing July of 2011.

Barker's car was found smashed near Grayson Lake. There was no sign of Barker. So far that investigation hasn't had any solid leads.

Investigators say it's too early to determine who this person was, or even whether it was a man or a woman.

"Everybody has an opinion on who they feel it may be," Murriell said. "Everyone wants to come up with an ID and give us information, but without us having something to positively identify somebody, we're not able to say, yeah it's this person or that person. It could be anyone."

The remains have been taken to the State Medical Examiner for identification.

Murriell tells WSAZ.com the remains were badly decomposed.

Crews are out on the scene again Monday afternoon.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 9/5/11 @ 9:45 p.m.
CARTER COUNTY, Ky. (WSAZ) -- It has been nearly two months since we told you about a man's car being found after an accident, with the man gone without a trace.

Police on July 12 found Nathan Barker's car crashed into a guardrail in Carter County near Grayson Lake.

As of early September, Barker remains missing.

The sheriff's department and Barker's family are pleading for answers -- anything that may lead them to him.

“It's pretty heartbreaking to be out looking for your brother and yelling his name and pray to God that you hear something back,” his sister Kelly Barker said. “We don't sleep, we don't eat well, we have maps and we go everywhere.”

She said for weeks, family and friends have searched the woods and beyond -- spreading out from the Ky. Route 7 crash site near Grayson Lake.

Carter County Sheriff Casey Brammell said there was front end damage to Barker's maroon Cadillac when it was found early July 12. There was no trace of blood, and both air bags were deployed.

That leads investigators to think Nathan was not alone.

“That leads me to believe there would have been a second person in the vehicle,” Brammell said.

Kelly said, “People can say what they want. He was a great kid and loved his son very much.

She said her brother would not have run away from his 8-month-old son and loving family.

“Nathan was not the type to run away,” she said. “He would never break my mom and dad's heart like this.”

The family asks hunters who might be scouting the woods for the fall deer and turkey season, as well as anyone else, to be alert to anything unusual.

“Take note of anything suspicious or out of place; it could help us,” Kelly said.

Brammell said he knows Barker was driving to a girl's home in Sandy Hook, Ky. He subpoenaed Nathan's cell phone records; he now needs the public’s fresh tips and leads to keep the case moving forward.

“I want the public to know pay phones are easily accessed to not be traced,” Brammell said. “We don't need names, just information. Anything anyone has heard or seen to help find Nathan Barker.”

Brammell says there possibly was some gathered in the Cadillac, but he needs those fresh tips.

If you have any information that might help find Nathan Barker, please call the Carter County Sheriff's Office.



ORIGINAL STORY 7/14/11
CARTER COUTY, Ky -- Deputies found a smashed car but no sign of the driver.

Now, investigators are working a missing person’s case, and checking to see if there are any ties to the still unsolved murder of Nemo Bryant.

“This has the potential to be bad,” Sheriff Casey Brammell said.

The Carter County sheriff says Nathan Barker's maroon Cadillac was discovered about 2:30 a.m. Tuesday morning, smashed into a guard rail along route seven near Grayson Lake.

The sheriff says the car had front end and windshield damage, but no sign of the 20 year old from the Olive Hill area. There was no trace of blood at all.

“The air bags were deployed, and there were no visible signs of injury," Brammell said. "There was nothing to make us believe there was an injury.”

Nathan Barker's family tells WSAZ.com they searched the woods around the crash site Wednesday from daylight until dark, with no results.

They seemed nervous and anxious and did not want to talk on camera, but said that Nathan would always either come home at night or call and say where he was staying.

The Barker crash site is not far from where a farmer in April found the body of Olive Hill's Dillon “Nemo” Bryant at the bottom of a farm pond.

Detectives say the 20 year old was shot and killed before he was dumped in the pond.

The sheriff says Nemo and Nathan had ties.

“They were about the same age, went to school together -- we’ve been informed that they ran together, but there's a major difference between this and Nemo's case," Brammell said. "Nemo just went missing. This has a little more.”

Brammell says he is not ruling anything in or out in the missing person's search for Nathan Barker.

Investigators in the Nemo Bryant murder case say they will compare notes with the Carter County Sheriff's Office on any possible ties to Nathan Barker's disappearance.

If you have any information that might help find Nathan Barker, you are asked to call the Carter County Sheriff's Department.


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