Body found, murder suspected in Polk County - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Body found, murder suspected in Polk County

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TURTLETOWN, POLK COUNTY (WRCB) -- Kenny Morrow would barely notice the sheriff's tape up around the steel garage that Dave Gardner called home.

Somebody else pointed it out.

"Did I ever see any cars over there," he says. "A few. nothing out of the ordinary."

Morrow and Gardner have been next-door neighbors, off of Highway 123 in Polk County's Turtletown, since Gardner's mother bought the place from Morrow's brother.

But Morrow says he knows less about Gardner now, than he did a dozen years ago.

"No idea how he makes a living," he says. "No idea how he pays the bills."

Not since Gardner shut down his salvage business, "Poor Dave's," after his own bad wreck several years ago.

"You'd see him walking up and down the road with a backpack," Morrow says. "That's about it."

But Saturday, sources tell Channel 3, a friend called the Polk County Sheriff's Office, worried. She hadn't seen Gardner in six days. She asked a Deputy to check on him.

By law, you need the property owner's or a family member's permission to enter property without a warrant. The deputy had to call Gardner's mother in Florida to get it.

After breaking the lock, they found Gardner's body inside.

What else they found, they're not saying. Sources tell Eyewitness News that the body has been moved to the TBI crime lab in Knox County for an autopsy.

"I'd say it's just isolated," Morrow says. "We don't have no trouble with nobody around here."

But jail records show Gardner had charges pending from an arrest January 5: for aggravated assault, evading arrest and resisting a stop.

He was last scheduled for court January 17.

His Facebook page openly references emotional turmoil. "Tried to take my life last week," a posting January 19 reads. "Didn't turn out the way I wanted to. I ended up in Benton (the hospital) for a week."

Friends responded with encouragement. One urges he seek Jesus. Another "what don't kill you will make you stronger."

Fast-forward to early Monday afternoon. Deputies and detectives have swarmed the crime scene again.

They comb over the garage, and the camper that Gardner kept in back.

It draws Morrow's curiosity. But not anxiety.

"Didn't really know what to think," he says. "Cause things like that don't ever happen around here."

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