About 10 a.m. Saturday, hunters in a remote wooded area of Allegany County in Western Maryland came across a gruesome and bizarre scene.
A man's body, dressed in underwear, jeans and brown boots, was decomposing on the ground, with what appeared to be only internal injuries. A hooded sweatshirt was tied between two trees nearby, about 28 feet above the ground.
The hunters called police, and a team of crime scene technicians responded and secured the scene, near Oldtown and the West Virginia line.
On Sunday, a special, regional law enforcement team known as the Combined County Criminal Investigations unit, or C3I — which involves state police, the Allegany County Sheriff's Office, the Allegany County State's Attorney's Office and the Cumberland, Frostburg and Frostburg State University police departments — continued the investigation, led by a state police homicide unit.
State police now believe the body is that of Lewis W. Joy, Jr., 37, who was last seen Oct. 13 and reported missing from the nearby town of Flintstone to state police on Oct. 22. On Oct. 16, a truck Joy was using was located at a gun club on Cresap Mill Road at Oldtown Road, but a search of the area by friends and police found nothing.
State police said Joy had two outstanding warrants for his arrest, at least one for failing to appear in court on a theft charge, and, before disappearing, he had told a friend "that he would not go back to jail."
The body found in the woods Saturday was not far from where the truck was parked. Joy's identification was found on the body and his family members have confirmed tattoos, but state police are still "waiting for science" from the chief medical examiner in Baltimore to officially declare Joy deceased, said Greg Shipley, a police spokesman.
An autopsy report is pending, a cause of death has not been determined and police "haven't rule anything out yet," Shipley said.
That Joy may have fallen from the trees where the sweatshirt was tied to the ground below, sustaining internal injuries, is "one of the possibilities being considered," Shipley said.
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