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Jeff Anthony Shepherd is Found

Truck and remains of local man missing since 2018 are found.

By Eugenia Jones

On Sunday (December 5, 2021), a team of divers found the body of a McCreary County man in his truck submerged in a pond just off U. S. HWY 27 in Strunk.  According to an administrator on the “Find Jeff Anthony Shepherd” Facebook page, DNA analysis has confirmed the body is that of Jeff Anthony Shepherd who went missing in March of 2018.

On Saturday, friends and family of the missing man contacted Chaos Divers, a dive/recovery team based in southern Illinois, and requested the team come to McCreary County to search a new location-the pond where Shepherd’s vehicle and remains were subsequently found.  The team quickly arrived in McCreary County to use sonar and search the pond on the following day.

According to a press release from the McCreary County Coroner’s Office, the vehicle was discovered by the Chaos Divers dive team and removed from the pond by Genoe’s Towing and Recovery.  Upon removal of the vehicle from the pond, human remains were determined to be inside.

Deputy Coroner Zachary Chaney was on the scene and pronounced the individual deceased at 2:09 p.m. EST.  The remains of the body were transported inside the vehicle by Genoe’s Towing to the Pine Knot Fire Department where they could be removed with privacy and respect.  At the fire department, Coroner Tim Corder, Deputy Coroners Israel Clark, and Zachary Chaney removed the remains from the vehicle.  The remains were sent to the Kentucky State Medical Examiner’s Office for autopsy and identification.  

The preliminary report from the Kentucky Justice Department Medical Examiner’s Office lists the cause of death as undetermined at this point; however, preliminary results indicate no lethal trauma to the body.  The autopsy process is ongoing with release of the final report typically expected in several weeks.

During a live video released by Chaos Divers and presented on YouTube by Jacob Grubbs and Lindsay Bussick, the pair extended condolences and pledges of continued support to Shepherd’s family and friends.  The Chaos Divers team had previously worked with Shepherd’s family, friends and other search teams in trying to locate the missing man.   As recently as a couple of months ago, Chaos Divers assisted other search teams in clearing approximately eight locations where it was suspected Shepherd or his missing truck might be found.  In those searches, the teams were unsuccessful in finding Shepherd, his truck, or clues to his disappearance.  

In the video, Grubbs noted a semi-truck wrecked at the Strunk, KY location shortly after Shepherd’s disappearance.  At that time, the existing guard rails alongside HWY 27 in the area of the pond where Shepherd’s truck was found were shorter.  After the semi-truck wreck, the guard rails were extended farther out making it unlikely that searchers would have ever suspected a vehicle had gone off the road and into the water.

The live video continued with Grubbs and Bussick both expressing appreciation to the McCreary County Sheriff’s Department and Kentucky State Police (KSP) for allowing the Chaos Divers team to assist with the ongoing law enforcement investigation.  Noting local and state law enforcement, especially in sprawling rural areas such as McCreary County, are often hampered by a lack of manpower and necessary equipment, the pair of Chaos Divers described their interactions with the local Sheriff’s Department and KSP as “amazing.”  Grubbs and Bussick were also complimentary of Genoe’s Towing, noting the local towing service’s willingness to work with the dive team and excellent work in recovering the submerged vehicle.

On the night he went missing, Shepherd was last seen alive getting into his truck at Missy’s Bar in Winfield, TN.  His truck reportedly turned north on U. S. HWY 27.  There was nothing to indicate any sort of problem while Shepherd was at Missy’s. 

According to the “Find Jeff Anthony Shepherd” Facebook page, those who would like to help the family with burial/funeral expenses may do so directly to the McCreary County Funeral Home (phone:  606-376-5358 and address:  48 State HWY 700, Whitley City, KY  42653) or cash app $JeffAnthonyShepherd.  The family will initially have a private service and then later host a celebration of life service for all who loved Jeff Anthony Shepherd.

Photo by Eugenia Jones
The truck belonging to Jeff Anthony Shepherd who was reported missing on March 13, 2018 was found in a pond approximately 500 yards from a billboard asking for information about his disappearance.

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