Lawton investigators work to identify murder victim

Saturday, December 24th 2005, 5:22 pm
By: News On 6

LAWTON, Okla. (AP) _ Investigators worked Friday to identify a murder victim whose body was discovered near an abandoned one-story house.

A Lawton man out feeding his dog made the gruesome discovery Friday morning. Capt. John DeBoard, commander of the Lawton Police Department's criminal investigation division, said because investigators are still trying to identify the victim, they would not reveal a cause of death or whether the body was in any state of decomposition.

``It's an obvious homicide and we're working it as such,'' DeBoard said. ``Crime scene investigators were (on the scene) for more than five hours processing the scene and collecting evidence.''

The body, which was moved to Oklahoma City for an autopsy, was found near a fence, not far from a creek. DeBoard said his department has received no missing persons reports or leads regarding the possible identity of the victim.

The neighbor who found the body, William Caudill, could not be reached at his home. Other neighbors said the low-slung house had been abandoned for some time.

A neighbor who declined to give his name said ``it doesn't surprise me'' that a homicide took place at that location. ``That house has been vacant for four years,'' he said.

Logan Walker, who lives directly across the street from the single-story structure, said there is a lot of foot traffic in the area between the fenceline and the creek. Westwood Elementary is just a block away.

A street near the house was blocked off with yellow crime scene tape during the investigation.

``I've never seen so many detectives in one place in all my life,'' Walker said, adding that he suspected drugs may have been involved in the man's death.

``I wonder how long he's been there?'' Walker said.