By Leeann Akers - Managing Editor
Oct. 24, 2012 — Kentucky State Police in Ashland have taken the lead in investigating the death of Nathan Barker, 20, who was missing in Carter County for more than a year.
The Carter County Sheriff's Office was investigating Barker's disappearance but that case was considered closed once his remains were found.
“The KSP has more manpower and other resources than we do,” Sheriff Casey Brammell told the Journal-Times. “The most important thing at this point is finding out what happened to Nathan.”
The KSP is still waiting for additional information about Barker's body, which was found near Grayson Lake on Oct 14.
The remains were identified late Wednesday night but very little information is being released.
The identification was based on initial results from the Kentucky Medical Examiner’s Office and evidence recovered at the scene.
The remains are still at the ME's office in Frankfort and positive identification also is pending completion of DNA testing. A cause or manner of death has not been released.
Hikers found Barker's body near Clifty Creek. A wallet also was found during a search of the scene. It contained Barker's ID and other personal items.
The body was found in a remote location about two miles up Airport Road, off KY 7.
The location is difficult to reach, requiring a boat, ropes or considerable skill at climbing. It is less than two miles from where Barker's 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.
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 car had been impounded in Grayson but an anonymous source says the KSP had the vehicle towed Friday afternoon.
At the time of Barker's disappearance, investigators were looking into the possibility of ties to the unsolved murder of Dillon “Nemo” Bryant, also of Olive Hill.
The crash site of Barker’s car was a few miles from where a farmer found the body of Bryant 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.
Bryant and Barker reportedly had ties, officials said at the time.
The Barker case is being handled by KSP Det. Ben Cramer. The Bryant case is under investigation by KSP Det. Toby Gardner of Post 8 in Morehead.
Leeann Akers can be reached at email@example.com or by telephone at 474-5101.