Terry J. Bishop
BIG STONE GAP — The Big Stone Gap Police Department confirmed on Tuesday that the state medical examiner's office in Roanoke has positively identified the remains found in the Powell River last week as those of 60-year-old Terry J. Bishop.
Bishop had been missing from his Big Stone Gap residence since May 9. A week ago Tuesday evening, people picking berries along the southern side of the Powell River just west of town discovered what appeared to be human remains about six feet from shore.
Big Stone Gap police and rescue squad personnel responded to the scene, retrieved the remains and sent them to the state medical examiner's office in Roanoke. A DNA sample was taken from one of Bishop's family members for comparative purposes, and on Tuesday, Big Stone Gap Police Chief Steve Hamm said those results confirmed the remains are those of the missing man.
"The state medical examiner contacted us Tuesday morning and determined the DNA evidence was that of Mr. Terry Bishop," Hamm said. The cause of death has not been determined as of Tuesday and is still a subject of investigation, he added.
"The investigation continues at this time," Hamm said.
Bishop's family members have been notified. "I always told (Bishop's brother, Robert Bishop) that he would be the first person I would talk to," once the DNA results were in, Hamm said, "and that was the case."
On Tuesday Robert Bishop said discovery of a body last week braced the family for what "seemed likely" to be confirmed by state authorities.
"After what we've been through, it came as no surprise. We kind of figured it was him," he said. "Now, it's a closure. Now we know and it's not like he's still missing and we don't know what happened. We know all about him now, except maybe how it happened. But, well, we've got a closure."
Bishop said Gilliam Funeral Home in Big Stone Gap will be in charge of arrangements.