Man’s body exhumed 40 years after death

Man's body exhumed 40 years after death (Image 1)

LEBANON, Tenn. – The body of Charles “Butch” Cooksey has been exhumed, 40 years after his death.

An autopsy will be performed on Cooksey at the University of Tennessee, to determine how he really died.

Cooksey's body was found in the early morning hours of Saturday, June 14, 1969, on Highway 70.

At the time, authorities ruled his death the result of a hit-and-run.

Questions about his death, however, have since remained.

“To say that he was run over multiple times in the middle of the highway would be an understatement.  He was, but there was no traffic, so you'd have to assume he was run over many times by the same car,” said Wilson County Sheriff Terry Ashe, who reopened the 40-year-old case earlier this month at the request of Cooksey's surviving family members, who have always believed that Cooksey was murdered.

“All these years, the death of Butch Cooksey has been suspicious in nature, always been part of conversation in the community,” Sheriff Ashe continued.

Cooksey's sisters said they've also heard the rumors.

“We'd heard them over the years and we were tired of hearing them,” said Connie Cooksey Minick.  “We're just hoping its worth it and we feel like it is.”

Minick was there as her brother's body was exhumed.

She said while it's a difficult process, it's one that is long overdue.

Ashe told The Wilson Post he has two prime suspects, both in their late 60s.

“We believe we have a motive and we are sure that this was not a hit-and-run, but a homicide.  I need the body to look for some things,” he told the paper.

Cooksey was 19 years old when he died.

*Photo courtesy The Wilson Post.

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