Body found in well on Sandy Cross Road in Oglethorpe County
Investigators call the disappearance of Charles Parker "suspicious."
ATHENS, Ga. (WXIA) -- A Georgia Bureau of Investigation autopsy showed the man whose remains were found in an Oglethorpe County well was killed by gunshot wounds.
Authorities said they were unable to determine the exact time of death as of this point. The condition of the body was, according to medical examiners, consistent with the timeframe that assistant bank manager Charles S. Parker, 25, of Monroe, was reported missing. He was reported missing Jan. 16.
GBI investigators said they were able to tentatively identify Parker's body through a tattoo.
The body was found in a well on an abandoned property in the Sandy Cross Community shortly after noon Monday.
Parker was last seen by his family at church on Jan. 15, 2012. That afternoon Parker dropped off a business partner in Athens. In the next two days, his wallet, duffel bag and car were found in varioius locations nearby.
GBI spokesperson John Bankhead said a man who managed the property where the well was discovered the body. He said, "He had detected an odor coming from the well and he looked down in the well, saw what he thought was a boot and contacted the sheriff's office."
Bankhead said an autopsy would be conducted at the GBI Crime Lab in Decatur on Tuesday to determine a cause of death and a positive identification. "Based on a tattoo they found on the body they made a tentative ID as Mr. Parker," Bankhead said.
Parker's body was found about five miles from where a search was conducted days after he disappeared. That's where investigators tracked his cell phone.
Parker's family never gave up hope that he would be found. Armed with fliers and hope, family and friends searched for clues in the disappearance of the 25-year-old Sunday School teacher.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation called the disappearance of Charles Parker "suspicious."
"This is totally out of Charles' character for this to even be happening," Patrick Parker said of his brother. "Someone always knows where Charles is. I talk to him two or three times a day."
Family members said Parker was at church Sunday (Jan. 15, 2012) morning where he performed his rendition of Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech. He left his hometown of Monroe for a business meeting in Athens.
The GBI's Jim Fullington said Parker met with a man to discuss the possibility of purchasing land in Madison County for chickens. Fullington says the meeting between the two men ended at about 4:30 Sunday afternoon.
According to Fullington, someone in Athens found Charles Parker's wallet on Sunday evening. The next day, someone else found Parker's duffle bag in the same general area of town. Early Wednesday morning, authorities found the missing man's car parked on Hoyt Street near downtown Athens, not far from where his other belongings were spotted.
"We're all just saddened," said Parker's aunt Cynthia Parker. "We know Charles is a good person. He's the comedian of the family. We can't believe what's going on."
Friends said in addition to working at Bank of America, Parker taught 7th and 8th grade Sunday School and sang in the church choir.
"A person who only does good," said fellow church member Gary Cole. "He is a person who only tries to help and encourage. He doesn't deserve this."
Anyone with information about the case is asked to call the GBI's Athens bureau at 706-552-2309.