Police use dental records to ID body

First Posted: 7/19/2009

DOBSON Surry County authorities have used dental records to positively identify a man whose body was found Thursday at 124 Lindsay Creed Lane, Sheriff Graham Atkinson said Sunday.
However, investigators still have not released a cause of death for Harry Watts Jr., 52, who was determined to be the owner of the property where his decomposed body was found outside a residence off Red Brush Road.
We are still trying to figure out whether it was a homicide or suicide, the sheriff said.
Were actually going to be back over there searching tomorrow, he added Sunday in detailing the next stages of the investigation. We have had people sitting on the house all weekend.
Both the Surry County Sheriffs Office and State Bureau of Investigation have been involved in the case.
County deputies went to Watts residence Thursday afternoon in response to a neighbor who was concerned about the mans welfare, according to previous reports. That neighbor had indicated that something just wasnt right there, and officers found the front door to the home open and Watts body in tall grass near the front porch.
Atkinson said it wasnt unusual for the door to be open because the home lacks air-conditioning.
The decomposed body possibly had been in the grass since last Monday, based on checks with neighbors, who are said to have had little contact with Watts. The body was sent to the state Medical Examiners Office in Chapel Hill for an autopsy.
Atkinson said Sunday that the identification of Watts came after a painstaking search of dental records. Our first challenge was to find dental records, he said, which involved seeking a dentist who might have treated the man.
The sheriff described that as a time-consuming process requiring much work, and credited Surry EMS Director John Shelton with aiding in the research leading to Watts eventual identification.
Authorities earlier reported that a weapon was found which was believed to have been involved in Watts death.
Contact Tom Joyce at [email protected] or at 719-1924.

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