Body Found On Middle Mountain

In a statement from the Highland County Sheriff’s Office, it was reported that on Saturday, July 9th about 7:00 pm, a citizen reported what they though was an abandoned black Nissan Pathfinder in the area of Middle Mountain. Deputy Bob Kelly went to check out the vehicle about 1:00 am Sunday morning and ran a check on the vehicle’s license plate – no wants or missing person reports were returned, and he did not disturb it. On Monday, officers returned to the area to check on the vehicle further. When authorities searched the vehicle, it was not locked and the keys were inside. A cell phone, clothing, and personal documents were also found inside. A number of addresses found on documents in the vehicle failed to check out. Based on investigation of the scene, it was determined that the individual was overdue in returning to the vehicle and a search of the area was started. Christopher Anthony Suarez, 53, was believed to be the missing man based on documents found in the vehicle.

Tuesday morning, U.S.  Forest Service law enforcement, Virginia State Police and a VSP canine unit  joined sheriff’s deputies on a small-scale search. About 1:20 Tuesday afternoon, two Highland deputies discovered a body off a trail – it was badly decomposed, and noted they could not identify or determine the cause of death. The Medical Examiner’s office will make the final determination of the identity of the body.

The sheriff’s office has no reason to believe another person was with Mr. Suarez, or to believe that this incident poses a threat in any way to anyone else.

Story By

Scott Smith

Scott Smith is the General Manager for Allegheny Mountain Radio and Station Coordinator and News Reporter for WVLS. Scott’s family has deep roots in Highland County. While he did not grow up here, he spent as much time as possible on the family farm, and eventually moved to Highland to continue the tradition, which he still pursues with his cousin. Unfortunately, farming doesn’t pay all the bills, so he has previously taken other jobs to support his farming hobby, including pressman/writer for The Recorder, and Ag Projects Coordinator for The Highland Center. He lives in Hightown with wife Michelle and son Ethan. In his spare time, he wishes he had more spare time, especially to ride his prized Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

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