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Infant body recovered as search team endures freezing temperatures



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. cj

    February 6, 2014 at 5:36 pm

    Where were the other children?

    • PulaskiGrandmother

      February 11, 2014 at 2:39 pm

      They did not care where they were. All they cared about was their sick relationship.

  2. C.J.

    February 8, 2014 at 9:36 pm

    For those of you who think the “fathers” background is bad, which Im not disagreeing with and also wonder how he wasnt already in jail, check out the “mothers” Samantha Anna Jane Taylor. Warden is her maiden name. Its scary someone has so much against them and still walks around free. If you add up the dates you will also see she was using cocaine while 4 months pregnant. Her and her current boyfriend, yes she was engaged and has a boyfriend, have multiple animal neglect charges. She is as much to blame as him, and yes I will blame someone, what else can you do, a baby lost his life because of TWO careless, selfish, FOOLS, he needs a voice now more than ever! And all involved need to to be exposed. Ill pray for her alright, pray shes never able to bring another child into this world.

  3. Becca

    February 9, 2014 at 5:47 am

    If you will go back and listen to all of the interviews that is posted in the paper and read them carefully and I mean carefully you will see that the comments from the mother do not add up. Yes I agree with other comments, if momma knowing that daddy was abusive then why leave him with precious Cory and go spend the night with anyone. It appears that she was living with daddy and spending nights with boyfriend. I do hope that this is investigated to the fullest. Yes I think that our town will be shocked when they hear the findings. My heart is with baby Cory. Please get to the bottom of this soon.


  4. justicefor the child

    February 11, 2014 at 9:10 am

    I agree! If you just check out their facebook pages and see the crap that was on there. He had beat her in March 2012, she required stitches. And until all of this with the baby happened, all of her pictures were about him and partying. It wasn’t until people started looking for her son that she started posting pictures of her kids on line. Pathetic! Everyone deserves to have support, but choosing to stand by a mother and father that BOTH allowed this to happen to a child is sick. They both need to be in jail!

  5. LT

    February 11, 2014 at 10:01 am

    Way to state it Becca and Justice for child!!! It is about time someone spoke of the dealings of both parents. Ninny has pointed the discrepancies out earlier and some made fun of Ninny. Anyone see the Roanoke Times article on Facebook (yes Va. girl facebook is mentioned here)? The news has begun picking up details about the case from court records and putting the differences in the timeline for the public in black and white. So glad some “official statements” are finally being put in the spotlight.. Ms. Warden (note not married) the night of the vigil you spoke such kind words of the father but didn’t mention your stitches previously or that you were “engaged” to someone and living in the home with Mr. Cole.. Plus in your interviews you never once spoke of the conditions the baby had been living under with this person. You are an accessory to this abuse from what is being published. Yes in Va. the “parents rights come first” law makers so this is somewhat on your plate Richmond.. and “innocent until proven guilty”. How sad for this child and others like him. Anyone else remember the child in Roanoke few years back-returned to parents against suggestions and found in a dump heap with broken bones? Yep parents got rights, but not the innocents…. Thank you thank you thank you news for putting the light on the information…. Hope to see more follow up along these lines. And it is not an invasion of privacy since her stitches were posted on his facebook page with him saying he did it because he thought “she was cheating”. But neither had pics of the baby until the disappearance and she did. Dear Cody, I am so sorry the system let you down. But don’t put blame on the local enforcement level, they can only do so much. Their hands are tied. Oh and Ms. Warden, the junk about what you put in the papers to find your child being not correct, then why sign papers not true? That has a name—- perjury…. And you don’t even have your other children, so why should you have had this one? Welfare being the name for that!!! How soon before you have another? “to replace your other baby”?

    • Hmmm

      February 11, 2014 at 1:47 pm

      The system did not let him down. The parents did.

  6. Kristy

    February 11, 2014 at 12:24 pm

    The woman ur talking about happens to be my niece.. She had to let the baby see it’s dad they had papers… She didn’t kill her son he did. They were not living together Samantha was staying with her brother. Her other to children are with my sister. Samantha has been putting picture if Cory up since he was born maybe u couldn’t see them if ur not friends with her.. One of u talked about her police record were did u read that and how would u know she was doing coke when she was 4 months.

    • ?

      February 11, 2014 at 5:00 pm

      Kristy, anyone can look up public records in the Pulaski General District Court System so why are you asking C.J. how they found out about it. Before you defend your niece you should have all the information about her and the case. Sometimes family members dont know everything about each other. If your sister has other children why didnt she have baby Cory too? This whole story is so sad for Cory seems like his 5 month old little life was not a very good one. It seems to me the he was always at risk for something bad to happen to him. Also C.J., I to know that Samantha Taylor has a boyfriend named Mike Altizer on Case Knife Rd. I have saw her there many times before baby died and several times after.

  7. C.J.

    February 11, 2014 at 2:24 pm


    Type in your nieces name, Samantha Anna Jane Taylor (and for anyone else interested in getting to know Kristys neice, you may only know her by her maiden name, Warden) then let the reading begin! I cant remember the exact date of the cocaine charges BUT I am smart and I added the dates up and she would have been 4 months pregnant, also a public intoxication. Now that doesnt aound very motherly to me.. but then again neither does stating you witnessed your 5 month old being cussed and tossed 4ft onto a bed by his oh so wonderful daddy, until the day he killed him of course, on the 26th, and then LEAVING that child with him days later to go stay the night with a friend, which I suppose you being her aunt and all would know it was probably with her boy friend Mike Altizer… and as for your little comment about them not living together, well then Kristy, why did you niece say out of her own mouth that Cory, Cole, and herself were staying with her brother until they saved up money to get a place of their own??? Hmm… sounds like you dont know your niece as well as you thought..

  8. C.J.

    February 11, 2014 at 2:44 pm

    And Kristy, a real mother would never let a piece of paper stand in the way of protecting her child/children.

  9. Patty

    February 11, 2014 at 2:50 pm

    I don’t understand why grandparents and brothers and sisters let small children’s live with their mother and daddy knowing drugs are using around them , people using drugs doesn’t take care of anything , someone should step in take their grandchildren not live in that life , children lives in a mess , Someone needs to help !

  10. Patty

    February 11, 2014 at 2:52 pm

    Kristy , it’s in Roanoke times ! I read it too ,