Tips sought in 1978 death of man found shot, burned at Rutherford County campground

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Rutherford County unsolved

(Courtesy: Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office/Tennessee Bureau of Investigation)

RUTHERFORD COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — Saturday marks 42 years since an unidentified man was found brutally murdered at a campground near La Vergne.

The Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office said a custodian found the man’s burned body on August 1, 1978 at Poole Knobs Campground near La Vergne. Deputies believe the man had been shot at another location, then dragged to the campground, where he was set on fire.

An autopsy determined the man was in his late 30s and was approximately 5 feet 10 inches tall, investigators said. He appeared to have had long, brown hair with a receding hairline and a reddish-brown and gray beard.

The sheriff’s office said he also had “unique features,” including “bootlegged” dentures with “Solila-Vac” teeth, and scars on his stomach, possibly from a surgery on his aorta using a Dacron graft, a material to replace or repair his blood vessels.

The man also had a quarter-sized mole about two inches from his waistline, investigators added.

He has been included in the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, along with a sketch of his appearance and a skull reconstruction.

The sheriff’s office asks any family members of missing men who match the description to contact Detective Richard Brinkley at 615-904-3045 or at

News 2 is digging deeper into Tennessee’s most notorious unsolved cases.

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