The body of Charles T. Fields, 35, was found around 9:30 a.m. today (December 1) in an overgrown field near the intersection of KY Highway 160 and Rise Branch, between Roxana and Kingscreek.
“At this time it’s being treated as an ATV accident,” said Perry Fowler of the Letcher County Coroner’s Office.
Fowler said it appears Fields died from head and chest trauma caused during the accident, but said the body was sent to the state medical examiner’s office in Frankfort for an autopsy. Two Kentucky State Police detectives have been assigned to the case.
Sgt. Barry Engle of the Letcher County Sheriff’s Department said Fields’ body was found after one of his family members spotted the wrecked red Honda ATV. Engle said it appeared as though Fields, whose body was found about 75 feet from KY 160, was thrown from the ATV as it flipped. He said the vehicle traveled another 75 feet before it came to a rest behind a clump of bushes.
“Unless you were really looking for it you wouldn’t see it,” Engle said.
Engle said evidence found at the scene indicated that the ATV had been traveling at a high rate of speed and had “turned over multiple times.”
Family members and friends had been conducting a countywide search for Fields since he was reported missing on Thanksgiving. One family member, Beck Fields of Jeremiah, said she and others had been to what seemed like “every mountaintop and holler” in Letcher County to follow up on tips from concerned citizens who believed they had seen Fields or an ATV like the one he had been described as riding.
Family members became concerned about Fields last Tuesday (November 22) when he didn’t show up for the second day of visitation being held for his late uncle at King’s Chapel Church at Whitco. That concern grew to deep fear the next day when Fields didn’t make the funeral of the uncle, Orville Lee Fields, whose grave he had helped to dig on November 20.
“That’s when we all knew something was wrong,” Beck Fields told The Mountain Eagle earlier this week.
As the days passed without Fields being found, family members worried that he may have been the victim of foul play since he was believed to have left the home he shared with his mother with $800 in cash.
The family released the following message on a Facebook post this afternoon: “Thanks for everyone’s prayers, and the family would like to thank the KSP and all who searched for Charles. He has been found. He will not be coming home as we had all prayed so hard. We are not 100% sure of the cause of death. It will be under investigation. At this time we are not ruling out anything. Prayers for his mother, brother and sister are greatly appreciated.”
Those responding to the 9-1-1 call at Kingscreek this morning in addition to Engle and Fowler were KSP Trooper Adam Hall, who was the first officer to arrive at the scene, KSP Detectives Chris Collins and Joe Dials, and members of the Letcher and Kingscreek volunteer fire departments.