By MELINDA WILLIAMS
An infant whose body was found in a wooded section of Draper Thursday night was buried in a shallow grave, according to Pulaski Police Chief Gary Roche.
Roche said he has “an idea” how long the body had been there, but he declined to speculate. Results of an autopsy are expected early this week. Until that time he said the baby cannot be positively identified as five-month-old Cory Samuel Cole and the cause of death will not be confirmed.
A missing and endangered child alert was issued for Cory after police learned the baby had last been seen with his father, Howard Samuel Cole, around 7 p.m. Monday and that the father allegedly had abused the baby the day before.
Cole was arrested behind the Fairlawn Walmart around 10:30 a.m. Thursday, but Cory was nowhere to be found.
Pulaski County Sheriff Jim Davis said officers started combing the wooded area, on private property in the vicinity of Draper Valley Road around 4 p.m. Thursday.
At this point, Cole is only facing a charge of felony child abuse in connection with the alleged abuse. Roche has declined to comment on details of that incident.
He also declined to speculate whether anyone else could be charged in the case, noting that there is still a lot of work to be done on the investigation.
Law enforcement cleared the crime scene where the infant’s body was found around 10:30 p.m. Thursday. Roche said members of the sheriff’s department returned there around noon Friday to “map the scene.”
Surveying equipment is used to map a scene in order to pinpoint the location of critical evidence in preparation for trial. By Friday evening, he said, officers had finished work at the scene.
Police searched Cole’s residence on Crestline Drive Wednesday night. Asked whether any items pertinent to the case were found, the police chief would only say, “We recovered evidentiary items.”
The court sealed an inventory of items seized during the search, according to Pulaski County Circuit Court personnel.
Cole is being held without bond at New River Valley Regional Jail.