DEKALB COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — Dekalb County investigators may have a break in a missing persons case after a skull was discovered near Center Hill Lake on Thursday.  

Matthew Braswell, 29, went missing on Dec. 17, 2021, and Sheriff Patrick Ray believes the skull could belong to Braswell. As the sheriff’s department awaits anthropological testing, Amy Braswell, Matthew’s sister, said the skull’s discovery is hard to process.  

“Heartbreaking, I don’t even know how to react, think, anything,” Amy said. 

The skull was discovered roughly a mile and a half from where Braswell was last seen. According to officials, Braswell was riding in a Chevy Tahoe with another man and the two were allegedly going through someone’s mailbox on Ponder Road. When the homeowner came out to confront them, the two drove off and crashed into a wooded area. Braswell and the driver fled from police, but Braswell was never found.  

“If his skull is out there, the rest of him’s out there somewhere and I think it’s their responsibility to go out there and find him. And they may not be able to do too much with just bones, but I would still like to know maybe cause of death, what happened,” Amy said.  

Anthropologists with MTSU were able to confirm the skull was human.  

Amy said many questions are still unanswered, and she hopes investigators will continue searching for the rest of Matthew’s remains if the skull does turn out to be his.  

“He was such a good person, you know, he would give anybody anything that he had. He was my best friend,” Amy said.  

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Ray said he does plan to search the area, along with MTSU anthropologists, but he was not sure when that search would take place. He said it’s also unclear how long it will take to confirm whether the skull belonged to Braswell.