Bell Co. inmates find body

Published 2:22 pm Tuesday, April 24, 2018

According to an official press release from the Kentucky State Police Post 10 Harlan, on the morning of April 20, Post 10 received a call about a body that was found off of Hinkle Branch Road in Knox County. Troopers and detectives from Post 10 responded to the scene to begin their investigation.

The police stated that according to their preliminary investigation, at approximately 8:50 a.m., Bell County Forestry Service inmates were cleaning up a dump site over an embankment when a body was discovered. The troopers arrived on the scene and found a male individual, identified as Michael Sowders, 32, of Barbourville, and determined that it appeared he had been murdered and placed at the dump site. Knox County Coroner Mike Blevins was contacted and also assisted with the investigation. The Knox County SORT team was also notified and assisted with recovering the body.

Police stated the body was sent to the State Medical Examiner’s Office in Frankfort for an autopsy, which revealed Sowders’ cause of death was a gunshot wound.

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No one has been placed into custody as of press time and no charges have been filed. KSP Detective Jake Wilson is continuing the investigation.