An Arkansas man suspected of killing his mother apparently ended up in a shallow grave in rural Nevada County, raising new questions for detectives investigating the case.
The body of Jon Michael Fincher, 39, of Hope was discovered May 19, 2008. At the time, the state Crime Laboratory was unable to identify it, said Nevada County Sheriff Danny Martin. Law enforcement officials shipped the body to the University of North Texas Health & Science Center for additional tests.
Last week, the university called the sheriff and the Arkansas State Police, confirming the body belonged to Fincher. However, scientists were unable to determine what caused Fincher's death.
"It's a mystery and it requires a lot of foot work," Martin told the Texarkana Gazette. "We've been working on it under the assumption the body was Fincher."
Fincher had been missing for 20 months when the grave was found by loggers near Bodcaw. Authorities believed it was Fincher because his wallet was found near a pond on the property.
Fincher's mother, Donna Fincher, 58, was found dead in her Hope home on Sept. 29, 2006. Though her body was in an advanced state of decomposition, her death was eventually ruled a homicide.
On Jan. 31, 2007, the Hope Police issued a first-degree murder arrest warrant for Fincher. However, the warrant didn't offer any details of why police suspected Fincher in his mother's death.
Arkansas State Police Special Agent Scott Clark said identifying Jon Michael Fincher's body "doesn't change much in the investigation."
"But it lets us know for sure we recovered him," Clark said. "The most important thing it does, is give the family some sense of knowing his body has been found."
Anyone with information regarding Fincher's death is asked to call the Nevada County Sheriff's Department at (870) 887-2616 or the Arkansas State Police at (870) 777-4641.
For more information see Monday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.