Body found in Valley Grande, likely that of missing manPublished 5:49pm Monday, December 31, 2012
VALLEY GRANDE — A body found in a Valley Grande pond Saturday is believed to be that of missing Stanley Wayne Painter, 60, who disappeared just days before Thanksgiving from his Valley Grande home.
Dallas County Chief Deputy Randy Pugh said a landowner discovered the body on the edge of a pond in a ravine.
“We sent the body over to forensics to get positive identification,” Pugh said. “We are pretty sure it will be our missing person, but we will not know for sure until the autopsy report is finished.”
Pugh said, though the body was pretty decomposed, there was other evidence found at the pond to suggest the body was that of Painter.
“We found his trailer key beside him and some of the clothing was identified as being his,” Pugh said. “Hopefully we will hear something shortly from forensics.”
At this time foul play is not suspected and the cause of death is unknown until a report returns from the forensics lab.
Scooter Haugen was out on his property Saturday off of Hoggle Road in Valley Grande when he discovered the body. Haugen said he was out on his four-wheeler near his pond when he saw what he thought was trash.
“I was going to the barn to do some work and it’s a steep hill to the pond,” Haugen said. “I rode down there and there is kind of a hole in the backside of the pond and you can’t see it unless you walk up the hill. There are so many briars you can’t see in.”
Haugen said he had never even been to that backside of the pond because of the steep 80-foot ravine and the thick briars. In the area where the body was discovered, it is not visible from the parts of Haugen’s property that he normally travels.
“I saw what appeared to be a bag or something and I thought it was trash,” Haugen said. “So I said ‘let me ride over there and look’ so I got up a little bit further and I saw it was a jacket, then I saw a leg and it was just bone, and I looked for a minute and said — something ain’t right.”
Haugen said several weeks earlier, a neighbor called him to tell him about there being more than 150 buzzards around his barn. Haugen said he thought nothing of it.
Painter was heard from on Sunday, Nov. 18. His mother, Evelyn Gullet said Painter would always call her once day, if not more. When she didn’t hear from him after Nov. 18, she said she knew something was wrong.
Law enforcement officials do not believe there to be any foul play, but they will wait to make an official statement about the cause of death once the autopsy report is completed.