BOYD COUNTY, KY (WOWK) – Officials in Kentucky now know the identity of a John Doe found murdered in Boyd County in 2020.
According to the Boyd County Coroner’s Office, the deceased male known as the “EastPark John Doe” has been positively identified as 26-year-old Zachary Tyler Pearson of St. Albans, West Virginia. The coroner’s office and the press release, the body was found near a small road in the EastPark industrial development center near I-64.
The Coroner’s office and a press release from DNASolves.com say Pearson’s body was found in a shallow grave in July 2020 by two hunters preparing their leased land in Ashland for the fall season. Officials say the body was “mostly skeletonized, lying face down.”
The coroner’s office says Pearson had been dead approximately two weeks to a month before the body was found. Officials say Pearson is believed to have died from a gunshot wound. Investigators say it is not clear if he was killed at the site, or if his body was brought to the scene after his death. Officials also say Pearson’s toxicology report showed that he may have ingested drugs near the time of his death.
Officials say investigators worked to identify Pearson until “all leads were exhausted” and that he could not be identified through traditional forensic DNA testing. The evidence in the case was sent to the Othram company in Texas which used a DNA extract method to develop a DNA profile for Pearson. Investigators then used the profile to do a genealogy search in attempt to identify possible relatives.
“I will be the first to say, I never thought we would be able to identify this person,” said Boyd County Coroner Mark Hammond. “We had very little to go on and when the Othram reached out wanting to help I still didn’t think it would be solved. Today, I want to say thank you all that was involved and hopefully it is one step closer to brining a close to the case.”
According to investigators, Pearson had no known association to Kentucky. With Pearson now identified, authorities are now working to find a suspect or suspects in his murder.
Anyone with any information that could help with the investigation is asked to contact Kentucky State Police Post 14 at 606-928-6421.