BATH COUNTY, Va. — Bath County investigators confirmed late Tuesday afternoong that a body found Sept. 2 is Beacher Hackney.
He was the prime suspect in the killings of two of his co-workers at The Homestead resort in March 2009. Hackney's body was found about seven miles from The Homestead, near the Lower Cascades Golf Course.
Hackney's remains were found after two people found a jacket in the brush. A Ziploc baggie full of ammunition was found inside the jacket.
"They also found a badly-rusted .380 semi-automatic handgun and a man's watch on the ground nearby," Bath County Sheriff Robert Plecker said. "They then spotted what appeared to be a human skull on the ground about 20 feet away from the jacket."
Plecker also told WDBJ7 that everything investigators found near the body was within a 100-yard radius. The break in the case was the discovery of Hackney's wallet and eyeglasses.
Investigators were able to determine that the body had been there for a long time because his bones were scattered, which indicates they had been picked at by a wild animal. Hackney's skull was found in tact.
Plecker says a cause of death will likely never be determined.
Hackney's family was extremely cooperative in terms of providing DNA, Plecker said.
Larry Norfleet was the sheriff when these murders happened. He had mixed emotions Tuesday.
"For me it brings a lot of closure to me. It was the one thing that was haunting me in my police career that didn't have any closure. Now it does," Norfleet said.
The hunt for Hackney has been a cloud over the quaint and close-knit community for the past three years.
"You never thought something like that would happen in Bath County and I think that since it is Beacher's body that it will kind of put everybody at ease knowing he's not here anymore.," Bath County resident Emily Peery said.
For three years people in Bath County lived with the threat of Hackney being on the loose, and now the fear and speculation is gone.
"It's a time to remember the two people who were unfortunately killed in this incident," Bath County resident Michael Hahaj said. "But at the same time it should provide some healing for everybody here."
The general vibe from people that we talked to was that the healing process is still going to take some time, especially for the folks at the Homestead. As you can imagine this was an especially important day for those workers.