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Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008

Death of former area man under investigation

By Margie Wuebker
The Darke County Sheriff's Office continues to investigate the suspicious death of a former Fort Recovery man whose decomposed body was discovered Sunday afternoon inside a recreational vehicle near Union City.
Detectives were called to State Line Road around 12:15 p.m. after the unidentified property owner found the body of 58-year-old Vernon Woodyard inside the older model motor home.
Woodyard had previously resided on Boundary Street in Fort Recovery before moving to the Union City area several years ago.
Initially, no positive identification could be made due to the advanced state of decomposition, according to Detective Sgt. Mark Whittaker. Neither Woodyard nor his white 1991 Chevrolet work van had been seen in several days.
"Mr. Woodyard had talked about going to Kentucky to visit relatives and the property owner assumed he had," the detective explained.
The man reportedly detected a foul odor emanating from the motor home late Sunday morning and went inside to investigate. He quickly placed a call to 911.
Authorities immediately issued an alert requesting people to be on the lookout for the missing vehicle. The van was recovered Monday night from Schoenlein Trucking & Salvage, located between Maria Stein and Osgood in southern Mercer County.
Mercer County Sheriff's Detective Lance Crum was called to the salvage yard on Mercer-Darke County Line Road, around 6 p.m. Monday after authorities in Darke County received a tip regarding the location of the missing van. Crum told the newspaper he had assisted them in tracking down some of Woodyard's relatives in the area.
Whittaker told The Daily Standard the business owner purchased the vehicle from someone as scrap on Saturday, but declined to provide additional details. The van was seized and returned to the sheriff's office in Darke County for processing. It will be held throughout the ensuing investigation.
The time, cause and manner of Woodyard's death have not been determined pending completion of a forensic report from the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office.
"A full and complete investigation into this suspicious death will continue," Whittaker said. "We have questions and want to cover all bases."
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