(Editor’s Note: 45 years ago, this week a body was found just off US 421 at Big Creek lying near the Red Bird River.  Nobody could recognize the badly beaten body and fingerprints were sent to FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C. for answers.  The man was identified as Alfred Metcalf, 33, of Knoxville, TN., as a last known address. But, nobody could explain how or why he was in Clay County, Kentucky and why he turned up dead just off a major highway. Only two stories could be found in the archives of The Manchester Enterprise, one announcing the body was found and a second article a week later identifying the victim.  To our knowledge, no arrests have ever been made. The following is portions reprinted from both articles.)

The body of a man stabbed seven times and thrown over an embankment in a remote southern section of the county is still unidentified.

Officers found the man, believed to be about 30, lying in the weeds and bushes along an old dirt road leading to the Frontier Nursing Service Building on Red Bird, about 15 miles south of Manchester Monday.

He was five feet-eight inches tall and weighed approximately 160 pounds.


The body was first discovered by two neighborhood boys and had apparently been “dumped” over the bank sometime late Sunday night or early Monday, morning, officers said.

There were no identifying papers, marks or materials on the body, and officers claim that over 700 persons from at least four counties who have viewed the body since it was found and have been unable to identify it.


Fingerprints were taken Tuesday and sent to Washington for possible identification and an X-Ray to determine if there were any bullet wounds or bullets in the body was made in Corbin Tuesday night.

Sheriff Clarence “Cotton” Gibson, who answered the call and made the initial investigation Monday said the man was wearing jean-like green trousers, a black and white striped sweater, a blue pull over shirt and black 12-inch leather boots.


He had dark brown hair, wore medium length, and had medium length sideburns and deep blue eyes, the sheriff said.

Identifying marks included a half-inch scar over the right eyebrow and a one-inch scar which has been stitched just under the chin.

His little finger on the left hand was slightly shorter than the one on his right, apparently from an old injury, the sheriff said.

He had also apparently suffered a broken nose at one time, the officer added, because his nose tended to lean toward the right side of his face.


Sheriff Gibson said the man had been severely beaten, had several front teeth missing, and had been stabbed three times in the left arm, twice in the left side, once in the right side and once in the left back.

“Death could have been caused by the beating, knife wounds or exposure,” Gibson said.

The area where the body was found is approximately 100 yards from a steel overhead bridge crossing the Red Bird River on US 421 at Big Creek, 15 miles south of Manchester.  The body was over a 35-foot embankment near the edge of the river just off US 421.

Sheriff Gibson said there was only a small amount of blood on the ground where the body was found, indicating the man had been beaten and stabbed somewhere else and then rolled over the embankment.


“So far,” the sheriff said. “All efforts to identify the man have failed, but we expect confirmation on the fingerprints within 48 hours if there is anything on file on him in Washington.”


Investigating officers theorize that the man may have been killed by someone passing through the county and was hauled to the local area and dumped with no other connection to the county—or—that he at some time worked here or met someone from here and was killed while visiting here, before being dumped along the riverbank.


October 5, 1972 issue

The body of a man found here last week has been identified as that belonging to Alfred Metcalf, 33, whose last known address was Route 1, Knoxville, TN.

He was identified through fingerprints taken here by officers and sent to FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Officers are continuing the investigation and no arrests have been made.

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