April 24, 2013 — Kentucky State Police in Ashland have ruled the death of Nathan Barker, 20, of Olive Hill, an accident.
In a press release last Thursday, KSP Trooper First Class Michael Murriell said that Barker's death was the result of a fall from a cliff.
“Throughout the investigation, a substantial amount of evidence was discovered confirming Mr. Barker’s death as accidental in nature,” Murriell said in his press release. “Among other things, the evidence consists of cell phone records, autopsy findings, and scene examination.”
During the examination of the scene, Barker’s cell phone was located. After technicians repaired the phone, it was discovered that Barker had attempted to send several text messages describing his vehicle accident and him walking in a wooded area near the accident scene in an attempt to find help.
Barker indicated in the text messages his location and his unfamiliarity with the wooded area.
Autopsy findings confirm Barker’s injuries were indicative of a fall from a cliff. Further findings from the autopsy state there was no evidence of foul play in his death.
Barker's body was found in a remote location about two miles up Airport Road, off KY 7 in October 2012, less than two miles from where his car was found 15 months before.
Carter County sheriff’s deputies found Barker’s maroon Cadillac smashed into a guardrail along KY 7 near Grayson Lake but saw no sign of Barker in July 2011.
The front end was damaged but there was no sign of injury. Officials and family members searched for Barker but no trace was found.
Barker's family was unavailable for comment on the ruling at press time.
At the time of Barker's disappearance, investigators were looking into the possibility of ties to the then-unsolved murder of Dillon “Nemo” Bryant, also of Olive Hill.
The crash site of Barker’s car was a few miles from where the body of Bryant was found at the bottom of a farm pond in April 2011.
The 20-year-old was shot and killed before he was dumped into the pond, according to KSP detectives.
Kyle Holbrook, 20, of Olive Hill, was indicted for Bryant's murder.
KSP Detective Ben Cramer determined there were no connection between Barker’s death and any other criminal investigation.