HILLSBORO — Authorities believe a man found dead from a possible drug overdose near Rocky Fork Lake was moved to the area after his death, and an investigation is ongoing.
Highland County Coroner Dr. Jeff Beery said the condition of 41-year-old John Peacock’s body, which was found partially clothed in the back of a car at a business on North Shore Drive last month, was not consistent with the environment in which it was found.
“We have reason to believe he was moved and that this was kind of a staged scene,” Beery told The Times-Gazette. “The coroner’s reason is because the lividity of his body didn’t match the condition in which he was found.”
Post-mortem lividity, or livor mortis, is the settling of blood in the body after death, and investigators often use it to determine the circumstances surrounding the fatality and time of death, according to educational material from Purdue University Indianapolis.
Beery said the body’s temperature was also very low, so Peacock may have been dead for some time before his remains were found.
As previously reported, Dr. Jim McKown, one of Beery’s investigators, said Peacock’s body was found partially undressed in the rear passenger side of a vehicle at a business on North Shore Drive.
McKown said while there were no needle punctures on Peacock’s body, the case was ruled at the time as a probable drug overdose pending the results of toxicology tests.
Beery said the tests, which are being conducted by the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office, will likely take another six weeks to be delivered.
A syringe was found about 10 feet from the car, but there is nothing to indicate whether or not it was used by Peacock, McCown said previously.
There was no indication of trauma on the body, McCown said.
In the meantime, the Highland County Sheriff’s Office is still investigating the incident.
Beery said it is not unusual for overdose deaths to be reported well after other drug users have cleaned up the scene so as not to incriminate themselves. But, the coroner said, “usually, they’re not so nefarious as to move the body.”
“If they load them up and haul them somewhere else and leave them, that really creates a lot of worry,” he said.
Peacock’s body was discovered on the morning of Saturday, Jan. 19 by an employee who was coming to work at the business, according to Highland County Sheriff Donnie Barrera.
Barrera said the body was found in a Pontiac car.
Anyone with information on the case should call the sheriff’s office at 937-393-1421. Or, if you wish to remain anonymous, call Tip 411.
Reach David Wright at 937-402-2570.