Body found just off I-85 Lanes shut down for hours; few details available on victim

Published 12:00 am Sunday, February 24, 2013

KANNAPOLIS — Investigators are asking for help after an unidentifiable body was found along Interstate 85 Saturday afternoon.
Sgt. G.A. Barger of the Highway Patrol said the victim was struck multiple times before a concerned motorist contacted authorities.
But authorities believe the death may have happened hours earlier.
Troopers have spoken to motorists who saw the body as early as 3:30 a.m. Saturday, Barger said. They, like others, assumed it was an animal carcass.
“A body was struck around, sometime over night,” Barger said. “People passing this body thought it was a deer carcass. The earliest person was 3:30 a.m.”
Authorities know the victim was a white person with red hair. No other information has been confirmed, he said.
“Obviously the body had been struck not once but multiple times,” he said. “We’ve got to find out if anybody saw anything before 3 a.m. that can help us with what happened.”
Barger said authorities are investigating if the person jumped from the Lane Street bridge, walked in front of a vehicle or even was killed before being found on the roadway.
The incident shut down both southbound lanes of Interstate 85 for about four hours Saturday afternoon.
Mt. Mitchell Volunteer Fire Chief Robert Earnhardt said a motorist riding with his family saw the body and turned around later to check Saturday afternoon.
“He said something just didn’t look right,” Earnhardt said.
Earnhardt said fire crews stayed on the interstate, cleaning the roadway until the lanes re-opened. Traffic began moving freely about 5:20 p.m.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the N.C. State Highway Patrol by dialing *HP (*47) on a cell phone or calling 800-233-3151.