GAINESVILLE, Ga. — A family is looking for their missing relative after news broke of human remains found in a wooded area off Lee Street in Gainesville, Friday morning.
The body, found by a local government worker according to police, was located around 11 a.m. behind a home.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has the body and will perform an autopsy.
Later in the day, a few people went to a house hoping to locate their relative who they haven’t heard from in a few weeks.
Jack Waldrip knocked on the door of his uncle, Raymond, saying he came over after he saw a map of the area where the body was located.
“When I saw the map showing where it is, I thought, it could be him,” he said.
Waldrip said his uncle is at least 75 and kept to himself.
“He’s an older man and a hermit and not sure that’s who they found, but not getting an answer at the door,” he said.
Waldrip called his sister and niece and told them no one was answering the door. Joy Pethel said Raymond is her great-uncle and, at first, she worried he would be upset about a body found behind his home.
“My first thought was oh my God, Raymond’s probably locked in his house now because he doesn’t like a lot of commotion and police running around," she said. "I felt like he would be really scared to death.”
After arriving at the home, however, her thought changed to fear.
“That it’s my uncle,” she said. “The house is empty, the phone’s been disconnected. He would never disconnect his phone. That was his lifeline, the phone and the mailbox was full.”
Pethel added her great-uncle always locked the doors and never turned off his house phone in decades. When she walked around the house, she found it unlocked and the water was turned off.
Pethel and Waldrip both called police and during Pethel’s conversation with 11Alive’s Hope Ford, investigators returned her call, asking her to come to the police station.
Police haven’t said if the body was male or female and can’t determine a cause of death until the autopsy is finished. As Pethel headed to the police station to file a missing person’s report, she teared up as she thought once again about the possibility of the body being that of her great-uncle.
“He was very sweet," she said. "He never forgot anything.”