“The body found in Calhoun County is not Kelley Henderson Howard,” Riverside Police Chief Rick Oliver said.
Calhoun County Sheriff Larry Amerson identified the victim as Melody Evans, 42, of Jacksonville.
“Young men fishing in the Peeks Hill community in northern Calhoun County discovered what was confirmed as a human body Saturday afternoon,” he said.
Amerson said the body was badly decomposed, and the sex of the victim could not be immediately determined.
“We started recovery efforts Sunday due to the location and the fact the body was partially submerged (in a creek),” he said.
Amerson said the body was transported to the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences for autopsy.
“We received the positive identification Thursday morning,” he said.
Amerson said the cause of death has not yet been determined.
“It will take longer than normal to determine the cause of death due to the state of decomposition,” he said.
Amerson said Evans was last seen in December 2009 at a gathering of friends, including her boyfriend, in the Crystal Springs community, a few miles from where the body was found. Several days later, Evans was reported missing to the Jacksonville Police Department.
“Jacksonville turned the case files over to the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office, and we are building that case at this time,” he said.
Amerson said the case has not officially been ruled a homicide.
“When we find a body in unusual circumstances, we always assume foul play until proven otherwise,” he said. “The body was found in a very rural area in a creek, and we consider that suspicious circumstances.”
Amerson said the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office originally considered three missing women cases, including Evans, Howard and Carla Fukua, who was reported missing to the Piedmont Police Department.
“Three women were missing, and one has been found but two other families still don’t have closure,” he said. “We ask that anyone with information on any of the cases contact the proper authorities.”
Oliver said the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department and the Riverside Police Department are continuing their investigation in the disappearance of Howard, 41.
Howard, who was reported missing in June 2009, was last seen at Family Dentistry in Riverside, where she worked as a dental hygienist.
Family members said the last time Howard spoke with them was June 2, and it was unusual for Howard to be out of contact with her family.
Anyone with information about Kelley Henderson Howard’s whereabouts should contact the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department or the Riverside Police Department at 205-884-3333.
Individuals with information on Melody Evans are asked to call the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office at 256-236-6600.
Individuals with information on Carla Fukua are asked to call the Piedmont Police Department at 256-447-9091.