Farmer who found Parker remains: "It's blind luck" - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Farmer who found Parker remains: "It's blind luck"

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By Megan Boatwright
Eyewitness News Reporter

CHATTOOGA COUNTY, GA. (WRCB) - It's a discovery that put to an end to the search for Theresa Parker.  She'd been missing for more than three years.  Now, her family can finally get some closure.

The farmer who cracked the case says stumbling across Theresa Parker's jaw bone was nothing more than pure luck.  He shared his story with Channel 3 Friday.   

The farmer says he's found animal bones and tortoise shells by the river bank before, but as soon as he picked the jaw bone out of the mud he knew it was human.

David Ledbetter has been a farmer his entire life, he says "It's just another day's work to me". 

It wasn't just another day's work, although Ledbetter says, when he found a bone sticking out of the mud. He was only taking a quick break from picking corn.

"I said, we better report this," he says. 

The farmer pulled the jaw bone out, and showed it to his nephew.  That's when they called 911.

"On the Chattooga River, we're picking corn," says Michael Womack on the line to dispatchers Monday.  "My uncle was looking down on the riverbank.  We found what we believe to be a human bone." 

The farmer had no idea he's just solved a 3-year-old cold case.  After showing deputies the area where the bone was found, Chattooga County deputies continued searching into the night.

"I didn't go down there to find that," says Ledbetter.  "I went down there to watch the ducks fly off the river." 

After uncovering more remains police concluded their search Thursday.  A conclusion officials at Wednesday's press conference called a combination of, "justice and divine intervention".

But to David Ledbetter it's a little more simple. "It's blind luck, you know," he says. 

After Ledbetter's discovery, deputies worked the scene for 8 hours Monday night, but didn't find anything.  When crews returned Tuesday they found a backbone, tailbone and legs.

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