Sheriff: Body in Sumner barn there for months

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By Tracy McCue, Sumner NewsCow
January 10, 2013 - 11:27:31 pm

Autopsy results show natural causes caused the death of a Wellington man whose remains were discovered in a hay barn north of South Haven Sunday, months after he died.

The partially-decayed body of Edward Byers, 48, was found by a man who was checking out farm property as a possible site for building a home. Medical examiners have determined there were no signs of trauma to the body or foul play, Sumner County authorities said.

Investigators believe Byers died sometime in September or October on the farmstead, owned by the manís family.

Byers was described as a loner who was periodically in and out of jail. His father had dropped him off at the farm in June of last year, when he was last seen alive.

His family told authorities it was not unusual for them not to hear from Byers for long periods of time. Family members said they thought he might have ended up back in jail.

An older man, Laird Bell, who is in his 80s, rented a home on the property but said he never saw Byers. Up until his death, itís believed Byers was camping in a wooded area near the farm and occasionally sneaking up to the farm residence for water.

Byers body was discovered in the hallway of the barn. He was wearing cut-off jeans and no shirt.

Sheriff Darren Chambers said his body had not completely decayed which, considered with the fact the man was wearing shorts, suggested it was hot during the day, but cold enough in the evening to halt the decaying process.

Chambers said the barn was located about 200 to 300 yards east of the house, so a decaying smell may have not been noticeable to the elderly renter unless there was wind coming directly from the east Ė which rarely occurs.

Chambers said Byers was identified the day of his discovery by authorities because of a lion tattoo on his arm.

Funeral services will be held Saturday.

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