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Body found in north Georgia woods identified as missing person

Authorities said 21-year-old Caleb Nathaniel Smith had been missing since mid-January.
Credit: WXIA

GORDON COUNTY, Ga. — The state crime lab has positively identified a man found dead in the woods of north Georgia on Sunday.

According to Gordon County Sheriff Mitch Ralston, lab reports confirm that the victim was 21-year-old Caleb Nathaniel Smith of Chatsworth.  Smith was reported missing on Jan. 16 by family members after his vehicle and belongings were found at a truck stop in Resaca.

"Both ground and aerial searches of the area surrounding the truck stop by deputies on the 16th and 17th of January yielded no results," the sheriff said in a statement.

It wasn't until Sunday that a resident found a body in the northwestern portion of Gordon County between the Sugar Valley and Hill City communities. Fire officials had been sent to the area previously in reference to a brush fire though it's still unclear if that was related to Smith or his death.

RELATED: North Georgia resident uncovers body in woods

The body was recovered by emergency responders and sent to the state crime lab on orders from the county coroner.

Initial reports suggested no foul play and following the body's identification as Smith, the sheriff said that there still doesn't appear to be any. However, Smith's cause and manner of death have yet to be uncovered.

Following the Sunday discovery, Sheriff Mitch Ralston said that deputies and detectives searched the area with the help of a drone until darkness fell. It's unclear if that search revealed anything significant.

Meanwhile, the sheriff's office is still awaiting toxicology results from the post-mortem examination.


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