NEWARK — The expected identification of a male body pulled from a septic tank on Newcastle Road on Wednesday was delayed on Friday.
“I do not yet have a cause of death or a positive identification,” said Dr. Jennifer Ogle, Knox County Coroner. “The condition of the body has lengthened the time frame for obtaining our answers. That does not mean the findings will be any less accurate, only that more work will be involved in obtaining them.”
Ogle said work will continue to identify the body and determine the cause of death throughout the weekend.
The body could be that of Raymond Staats from Canton, who has been missing since Jan. 9, 2009. The missing persons case led authorities to believe Staats was in Knox County. Information received by the Knox County Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday led detectives to an abandoned trailer at 27700 Newcastle Road, where a body was discovered after the septic tank was emptied.
Knox County Sheriff David Barber said Wednesday that the condition of the body would lead him to believe the unidentified man had been there for an extended period of time.
Ogle expects to have more information Sunday or Monday.
The body was found on property that is owned by Cami Stidham, 36, Walhonding. Stidham is scheduled to appear at a jury trial on July 26 on a felony aggravated theft charge for allegedly stealing over $400,000 from her former employer. Stidham’s ex-husband, John, 46, has been in the Knox County Jail since November after he was charged with complicity to Cami’s theft charge. He has since been indicted for 29 additional charges ranging from insurance fraud to receiving stolen property.
Staats’ family unsuccessfully tried to have him declared dead after being missing just 14 months.
Harlow Walker, Cami’s attorney has not returned a News request for comment.
Bruce Malek, attorney for John, declined to comment without John’s permission.