Missing persons case resolved

Published 11:20 am Thursday, September 20, 2018

An almost decade-old missing persons case has finally been solved.

According to the official media release, on Feb. 1, 2009, Middlesboro woman Katherine Heck was reported missing by her family after she walked away from her home on KY 441 in Middlesboro. The statements taken at the time of the disappearance indicated that Heck might have been walking toward the mountainous area on the south side of town. Clothing items that belonged to her were discovered near a railroad on South 43rd Street and several searches were conducted in the area, but she was not discovered.

The police also stated that Heck was entered into the National Missing Person database and over the years officers investigated numerous tips from across the country as well as local possibilities. Each instance was followed through without success until hunters discovered partial human remains in Tennessee near the head of Fern Lake in September 2014.

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The release stated that the remains were immediately thought to be Heck, but due to the condition of them the crime lab in Knoxville was unable to make the DNA comparison. The material was then sent to the University of North Texas Center for human identification. The Middlesboro Police Department was notified last week of the positive identification of Heck.

The police noted that there was no indication of foul play during the initial investigation and that they have consulted with the Claiborne County Sheriff’s Office since the discovery and no evidence to contradict this has been discovered.