Mon deputies identify body found in Cheat Lake area; additional information released on the two-year “John Doe” case

June 2 – A 62-year-old Point Marion man was found dead a few feet from his vehicle after area law enforcement found the car in the Birch Hollow Road and Darnell Hollow Road area of ​​Cheat Lake Thursday evening.

According to information from the Monongalia County Sheriff’s Office, deputies were patrolling the area when they came across a red 2004 Chrysler Sebring parked in a heavily wooded area along a logging trail. Deputies approached the vehicle and observed a deceased white male approximately 10 feet from the vehicle.

The man has been identified as James Lanko, 62, of Point Marion, Pennsylvania.

The sheriff’s department says no signs of suspicious circumstances were found at the scene, however, the investigation is continuing pending the results of an autopsy.

No additional information about what may have caused Lanko’s death, or how long he may have been there, has been released by the department.

The Dominion Post reported yesterday that MCSD and FBI investigators were searching a scene in the Dug Hill Road area near Sabraton on Thursday where the human remains of an unknown individual were found nearly two years ago on June 10 2021. Palmer said the remains are currently believed to belong to a “John Doe”.

Sheriff Perry Palmer released additional information about the investigation on Friday, saying detectives were continuing the investigation after new information was obtained from a University of Tennessee forensic anthropology report.

In the anthropological report, which investigators recently received in March 2023, it said the remains likely belonged to a 14-23 year old white male measuring between 5’6″-6′, but an identity could not be determined.

According to the department, the new information was sent to the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs), which is a national clearinghouse of information and resources for missing, unidentified and unclaimed persons cases in across the United States.

If anyone has any information about Lanko’s death or the “John Doe” man, please contact the Monongalia County Sheriff’s Office Detectives Division at 304-291-7260.

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