JOHNSON CITY - Authorities confirmed Friday the identity of a person whose skeletal remains were found earlier this week in the Painter Creek community of Washington County.
With the help of evidence left behind at the scene and assistance from the University of Tennessee's Forensic Anthropology Department, authorities announced Friday that the remains belonged to Eddie Dean King, 53, of Chuckey.
King's remains were found Sunday afternoon just off Ted Brown and Painter Creek roads by a couple scouring the area for discarded antique jars, authorities said.
King was reported missing by an acquaintance in mid-May, at which time authorities conducted a search of the area where he was last seen. That search, however, was unsuccessful.
Eight months later, King's remains were found lying in rocky terrain near a creek bed.
"The cigarettes he smokes were close by, his wallet was there with money in it, the clothes matched the ones he had been wearing," said Washington County Sheriff's Office Lt. Shawn Judy. "Everything matched, but until you get a positive identification, you don't know for sure."
A titanium plate in King's right arm ultimately allowed for authorities to make the positive identification, and relatively quickly.
"We subpoenaed his medical records and the (UT forensic department) took X-rays of the actual bone. Then they compared those X-rays to the medical records," Judy said. "The titanium plate was an exact match - the number of pins, the angle it was set."
Without that matching information, Judy said the process of identifying King's remains likely would have taken much longer.
"We would have had to do DNA testing," Judy said. "It would have been awhile to get those results back."
No foul play is suspected in King's death, which authorities ruled a suicide.