KPD e-News Release: Discovery of Human Remains in Midfield Community Positively Linked to 2004 Missing Person Cold Case

Kingsport Police Department

200 Shelby Street • Kingsport, TN 37660

ThomasMPatton • 423-229-9433 (Desk) • 423-224-2786 (FAX)

SUBJECT: Discovery of Human Remains in Midfield Community Positively Linked to 2004 Missing Person Cold Case
DATE: April 12, 2017
CASE #: 04-035883 (Original Missing Person Case)

17-007413 (Discovery of Remains)

On October 30, 2004, David Ratliff was reported missing to the Kingsport Police Department by his sister. His sister advised that he suffered from multiple medical afflictions. She said that he was treated at Holston Valley Medical Center for injuries sustained in a fall approximately one month earlier, but he had not been seen or heard from since.

Mr. Ratliff was 41 years of age when he was reported missing. At the time of his disappearance, he resided in a rental home, located in the 1500 block of Fairview Avenue in Kingsport. This has remained an open and active missing person investigation by the K.P.D. Criminal Investigations Division for the past 12 ½ years.

On April 1, 2017 at approximately 3:15 PM, a woman was walking through a wooded area in the Midfield community of Kingsport when she discovered human skeletal remains. She immediately notified the Kingsport Police Department. Detectives from the K.P.D. Criminal Investigations Division, with support from the East Tennessee State University Forensic Center and the University of Tennessee Department of Anthropology, responded to the scene to fully investigate the find.

This discovery was located approximately 200 yards from where Mr. Ratliff resided in 2004. The remains were initially transported to the ETSU Forensic Center in Johnson City, where they have now been positively identified as that of David Ratliff. Mr. Ratliff’s remains have since been transferred to the UT Department of Anthropology in Knoxville, for a full forensic examination. That procedure is still underway with the cause of death yet to be determined.

While the missing person portion of the original case is no longer in question, it remains an active unexplained death investigation by the K.P.D. Criminal Investigations Division. As such, no additional details will be released at this time.

Thomas M. Patton, Public Information Officer

Kingsport Police Department Professional Standards Unit

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