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Infant body recovered as search team endures freezing temperatures

Cole-investigation-scene

By SARAH BRADBURY,
CALVIN PYNN and
MELINDA WILLIAMS

Authorities found the body of an infant in the Draper area Thursday night, but couldn’t confirm whether it is that of five-month-old Cory Samuel Cole, who was last seen with his father in Pulaski around 7 p.m. Monday.

In a press conference near the crime scene, off Draper Valley Road (service road F-064), Pulaski Police Chief Gary Roche confirmed investigators were “in the process of recovering an infant child body fitting the size and description” of Cory.

Pulaski County Sheriff Jim Davis said interrogation of the suspect, Cory’s father, Howard Samuel Cole, tipped off officials to the location to search, which began around 4 p.m. Thursday.

Teams only had to traverse about a mile of territory before locating the body, in a wooded area, according to police. A search dog and ATVs were used in the search.

Pulaski County Sheriff Jim Davis declined to discuss the condition of the body or its surroundings.

“We’ll be here for probably a considerable while longer. This is just the beginning of this investigation,” said Pulaski Police Chief Gary Roche. “There are hours and hours (of work), but we’ll be here until it’s done.” He thanked the sheriff’s department for their assistance in the search for Cory and body investigation, calling it a “team effort.”

Positive identification of the body and cause of death is pending an autopsy at the state medical examiner’s office in Roanoke.

Cory’s father, Howard Cole, was arrested Thursday morning on a child abuse charge filed earlier this week. No other charges have yet been filed.

Roche said the investigation has been going “full throttle” since authorities learned of an incident in which Howard Cole allegedly had abused Cory Sunday. Roche has declined to comment on the circumstances surrounding the abuse charge.

Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office took Cole into custody around 10:30 a.m. Thursday in an area behind the Fairlawn Walmart. Cole wasn’t at a residence or in a car at the time and Roche said he doesn’t believe Cole gave officers any trouble during the arrest.

Although Cole did have “some kind of custody arrangement” with the child’s mother, Roche said he wasn’t certain of the details.

Authorities received a report Wednesday accusing the father of having abused his son Sunday. A felony warrant was obtained for Howard Cole and a search for him and the infant ensued.

Police searched Cole’s residence on Crestline Drive Wednesday night.

Cole also is awaiting trial in Pulaski County Circuit Court on a charge of grand theft auto stemming from a September incident. He was indicted by the January grand jury and is scheduled to appear in court February 21 for setting of the court date.

Last April, he was listed in Pulaski Police Department’s Most Wanted for a third offense petit larceny charge. At that time, his last known address was listed as 123 Crestline Drive.

77 Responses to Infant body recovered as search team endures freezing temperatures

  1. rkofan4life

    January 31, 2014 at 4:28 pm

    God bless this famiy

  2. valerie

    January 31, 2014 at 4:47 pm

    Prayers for this family! This little body was found so close to home. So sad.God bless him and his family.

  3. PAMN

    January 31, 2014 at 5:56 pm

    MY THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS ARE WITH THE MOTHER AND THE FAMILY OF LITTLE CORY!! THANK YOU FOR THE WORK OF MULTIPLE POLICE OFFICES FOR RECOVERING AND BRINGING THIS SWEET CHILD OUT OF THE COLD. THIS IS A SAD DAY!! MAY GOD COMFORT THE LOVED ONES!!

  4. Ninny

    January 31, 2014 at 6:53 pm

    Prayers for this family and officers and EMTs working the case. Nightmares will Haunt them forever. Kudos to the officers for obtaining the info needed to locate this child in the cold. And for not punching his lights out in the meantime. Comments are flying regarding the mother, proving he did it, innocent until proven innocent. To each person you have an opinion and we have ours. I realize the case cannot be discussed until trial. Still some questions to ease the mind of the public:
    Who had custody should have already been determined.
    If they were apart, did he abuse the mother too?
    If abuse was known Sunday why was it not reported then and child removed.
    Why wait until Wednesday? Police reacted immediately it seems like kudos ago.
    Investigators good luck. This had to be a very emotional case for all of you. Prayers for all of you. Please please make the case stick. Do not let lawyers drag it out with excuses and technical issues. If by some quirk he did not do it and was covering for someone, please find them. Most are afraid he left the child to freeze and go hungry. I speak the words others are whispering. We are aware https://www.facebook.com/flytheamericanflag/posts/580163362061352:0 is private, but can still voice the concerns. People learn from this. This is why we have laws and visitation sites like Safe Haven. Don’t wait 3 days to report suspected or proven abuse. It make be too late as seems to be the cicumsstanes here. Thoughts and prayers for the siblings. How to explain to them and keep the press and news from them. Thank you for letting me ramble.

    • Va Girl

      February 1, 2014 at 7:06 am

      You have no idea if the officer will be haunted with nightmares forever, so don’t believe the worst for them. They’ve seen plenty of terrible things (including deceased children) before. You give them very, little credit on being strong assuming such.

      As for “not punching his lights out”….that could be the end of the officer’s career during questioning. They are professionals with a high level of training you know.

      As for asking the officers not to let a trial drag out….they have ZERO control of that. Don’t you know the court system and police are separate entities?? The trial itself is totally out of the hand of law enforcement. Their part is delivering him to and from jail and testifying on whatever they need to testify about. That’s it.

      Also, STOP SPREADING GOSSIP that is babbled on Facebook. You are further encouraging whispering and rumors. You know nothing more than anyone else who posts their own mighty opinions on that site (most of it garbage) so don’t speculate and repeat pure speculation. They family has enough to deal with to have to hear all that too.

      • Kara

        February 1, 2014 at 7:48 pm

        Personally I think that Ninny has very good opinions and questions that need to be answered. This is Pulaski County, such a small place so when something like this happens it affects ALL , not only the family of this innocent child. It was on the news for the public to see so obviously the pubic is going to talk about this horrible tragedy. My heart goes out to everyone that waa affected by this. This goes to show that if you think someone is being abused or witness it you need to contact the police immediately to make sure something like this never happens again.

        And yes, actually nightmares will haunt them forever and everyone affected by this little baby boys death. If this didn’t make you sick to your stomach wanting to throw up, make you cry, make you question every little detail and make you want to awful things to the person responsible for this. Then what kind of person are you?

        • Va Girl

          February 3, 2014 at 9:02 am

          What kind of person am I? A logical person and yes, this case does turn my stomach. My husband and I discussed it at length about how we felt. Do I want to do awful things to the murderer? No…I want the courts to convict him and sentence him to death. Now, if I had been present when he was abusing that baby then yes, I likely would have done something to him on the spot (unless my husband was there then the guy would be in ICU if not under ground).

          I will agree with you that being a small community and Facebook being what it is folks will talk. But until I see solid facts Facebook chatter is just chatter….although some of it very, well may turn out to be true.

      • myra albert

        February 3, 2014 at 8:53 pm

        Va Girl,it really doesn’t seem like you have ever needed help from the Pulaski Town Police Department the way your taking up for them, or maybe your one of the few ones they have actually helped. Many of us would have to disagree with your opinion of them. And please dont tell anyone elce to stop expressing the way they feel. Thats not up to you because eyeryone has the right to there own opinion. If you think Facebook is a bad thing stay off of it, I do.

  5. myra albert

    January 31, 2014 at 7:32 pm

    Rest In Peace sweet little baby boy. Cant help but think that an Amber Alert on Monday may have helped save this beautiful life. I really feel like the police with help from the public may haved made a difference. Praying for his Mother and Family.

  6. Andy Hullender

    January 31, 2014 at 8:56 pm

    Sad for the baby. This is why we have to do something about repeat offenders. How many laws must one break before we figure out they are a bad egg.

  7. java

    January 31, 2014 at 9:09 pm

    Rest in peace Corey. Jesus has you now an will keep you warm.

  8. linda Sonner Campbell

    February 1, 2014 at 4:49 pm

    God Please Care For This Family And Exspecially The Mother. We Know Cory Is With You And Safe And Loved.
    Thank You God.

  9. Ninny

    February 1, 2014 at 11:28 pm

    Va girl how bitter you sound. Please know the highest respect for each and everyone involved in this case. Let me tell you that they are haunted by each abused or beaten or death especially. They are strong individuals but they do have a heart and families. How cold you must think they are!! Unless you have lived with one of these kind people you know nothing of what they face with demons in their private lives. Just because they are strong doesn’t mean they don’t have hearts. No they have no control over the trial, nor control over the lawyers. But give them credit for having some say so in the cases. As for gossip asking questions on everyone’s lips and minds is not gossip. Concern that this can be prevented from happening again is more to the point.
    Yes they would be fired but tell me that deep down any loving individual would not consider wanting to do just that thinking this person had hurt an innocent child.
    No I don’t want a trial to drag on For I would not want the mother to set day after day in a court room to hear all the sad details over and over.
    Va girl or whoever you are,I am sorry you took so personally what was said and therefore know you will again.
    Prayers are With the family and friends of this family.
    What a long road ahead and I pray they find comfort somewhere some how in the upcoming days.
    Va girl well if you know this family I commend you for wanting to protect them from unkind words.

    • Va Girl

      February 3, 2014 at 9:06 am

      Nope. Never bitter. Just tend to be frustrated when people babble without knowing for 100% what the facts are. You sound very, judgmental by the way….

      As for “protecting the family”, I suppose all the things being posted against the mother and grandmother on Facebook is OK with you? Interesting.

      And no need to be sorry to me because I took not one thing you wrote personally. Not at all. So no worries there.

      I must say this is an extremely emotional case for anyone because of the innocent baby and the lack of caring his father had for him. Very sad to say the least. He’ll get what’s coming in this world and the next.

  10. Ninny

    February 2, 2014 at 8:23 am

    I just noticed did not put that facebook reference in my comment. The sentence does not make sense. I’m sorry it appears as it does. This is a correction.