By SARAH BRADBURY,
CALVIN PYNN and
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.